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Collier County has approved it. But when does the building begin?

In all the announcements surrounding Ave Maria’s opening, one of the biggest was local medical device maker Arthrex’s decision to move its manufacturing operations to the town, bringing more than 100 new jobs with it.

Plans called for a $20 million, 200,000-square-foot facility to open in early 2009.

That date has come and gone without a shovel being turned on the project.

The town’s developer and Arthrex met last week to discuss an updated schedule, but no decisions have been made.

“We haven’t established a time-frame,” said Scott Price, an Arthrex director.

“We’re still working through it, so nothing to say,” said Blake Gable, a vice president at Ave Maria co-developer Barron Collier Cos.

Arthrex has developed more than 3,000 products, distributed in the United States and 60 other countries, for arthroscopic and orthopedic surgeries. The company did not plan to move its headquarters from North Naples.

There have been some steps toward getting the facility off the ground.

Last April, Arthrex spent more than $700,000 for 13 acres in Ave Maria’s planned commerce park, the first company to purchase land there.

Collier County staffers have approved Arthrex’s site development plan, but have not received required building plans needed before construction can begin, according to Joe Schmitt, county community development and environmental services director.

The county is eager to see the new plant.

Also last April, county commissioners waved the more than $2 million in impact fees Arthrex would need to pay to build the facility.

Commissioner Jim Coletta, who represents Ave Maria, said with the current economic climate the lack of news about Arthrex was a good thing. He was glad to hear the company hadn’t scrapped of the project.

“Judging from the present economy, no news is good news,” Coletta said. “They’re a tremendous asset to Collier County.”
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ARTHREX IS STILL COMING TO AVE MARIA Collier County has approved it. But when does the building begin?