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Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay

Technology, medical industry and downtown development

Transportation and baseball concerns

Tampa Bay

» Tampa made headlines in August when the Republican National Convention came to town. But within hours of the closing gavel, the barricades came down, downtown commerce resumed and Tampa’s mayor, Bob Buckhorn, went back to focusing on his signature issue — downtown redevelopment. In November, Buckhorn unveiled his promised InVision Tampa plan, a blueprint for improving quality of life and encouraging development in Tampa’s urban core. Among the initiatives cited: The need for new businesses along the river that spur activity and create access to the city’s underutilized waterfront; a reconfiguration of streets and amenities connecting the Channel District with the downtown core; and the creation of a transit route linking residential, employment and academic areas.

» Intown/Framework Group plans to build a 36-story, 350-unit riverfront residential complex connecting Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, the arts district and the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, which itself is considering building a 600-car garage.

»  The former Mercantile Bank building at 100 W. Kennedy Boulevard will become a 130-room boutique hotel, and a 7,800-sq.-ft. waterfront bistro is planned for the Tampa Convention Center.

Businesses to Watch

» CLI Solutions: The defense intelligence company is considering expanding its headquarters in Tampa, possibly adding 40 jobs. The company cited proximity to MacDill Air Force Base and access to a trained workforce as reasons to remain in Tampa.

» H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute: Construction is under way on an eight-story, $74.2-million outpatient center at Moffitt’s McKinley campus. Scheduled to open in November 2014, the facility will include clinics, an ambulatory surgery center, imaging labs and research facilities.

» Morgan Stanley: The financial services giant, which already has a significant presence and 70 employees at Citibank Center in Tampa, is constructing a facility in Temple Terrace, investing an estimated $6.6 million and adding up to 110 jobs.

» Biologics Development Services: The company, which provides bioanalytical services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, has opened a state-of-the-art laboratory in Tampa’s Westshore business district, creating 13 jobs and making $1.2 million in capital investment.

Port of Tampa

» The port announced in January that Mediterranean Shipping Co. will begin offering global container service via Tampa. The addition of Swiss-based MSC, the world’s second-largest shipping container line and the largest carrier serving the U.S. market, is important for two reasons: It opens the door to shipping and receiving cargo between Tampa and ports in Asia, Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, Latin America and the Caribbean; and it gives Tampa a market share in the lucrative cargo sector that until now represented just 40,000 containers per year, compared to 900,000 at PortMiami, for example. “MSC will open up new destinations and options for exporters and importers via the Port of Tampa,” says port CEO Paul Anderson.

People to Watch

» Paul Anderson: Tampa Port Authority’s new CEO was the port director in Jacksonville for nearly two years and is credited with growing JaxPort into Florida’s highest volume cargo container port complex. He hopes for similar success at the Tampa Port, which is responsible for nearly $8 billion in annual economic impact and close to 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.

» Ken Hagan: The chairman of the Hillsborough County commissioners is bullish on development and an unabashed hometown booster. Actively involved in efforts to lure Bass Pro Shops to an east Hillsborough site, the former high school baseball player remains a fan and is eager to help keep the Tampa Bay Rays in the region.

» Brian Willis: Together with Brandie Miklus, Brian Seel and Kevin Thurman, the former member of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority’s Citizen Advisory Committee, has formed Connect Tampa Bay, an education and advocacy organization aimed at building grassroots support for public transportation.

Hillsborough Population: 1,304,734
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 1.82%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
19.72% 6.50% 28.66% 33.17% 12.38%
Per Capita Income: $39,184

MSA Dec. 2012 Dec. 2011 % Change Jobless Rate
Lakeland/Winter Haven 250,414 244,735 +2.3% 8.6%
Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater 1,222,313 1,183,770 +3.3% 7.9%
Source: Agency for Workforce Innovation

Homes - Single-family, existing-home sales
MSA 2013 Sales 1-Year Change 2013 Price 1-Year Change
Lakeland/Winter Haven 6,655 +7.2% $105,000 +10.6
Tampa/St. Pete/ Clearwater 33,477 +14.3% $129,000 +9.4%
Source: Florida Realtors

St. Petersburg/Pinellas County

» One of the county’s leading sectors, technology, is continuing to show signs of rebounding. Jabil Circuit, an electronics design, manufacturing and product management firm based in St. Petersburg, posted revenue of $17.2 billion in 2012, a 4.2% increase over 2011’s figure, while Clearwater technology product distributor Tech Data has had to respond to market changes by shifting to lower-margin products.

» Medical device manufacturing remains strong. Major players include Conmed Linvatec, Baxter Healthcare, SCC Soft Computer and Transitions Optical. Clearwater-based Biopsy Sciences has begun marketing its Magne-Cath medical device in Europe. Designed for cardiovascular procedures, the device allows physicians to more easily manipulate a guiding wire into location during stent graft placement, reducing risks associated with the procedure.

Businesses to Watch

» Valpak: The Largo company that prints and mails coupons to 45 million households each month has a paperless option with an app that lets users browse and store coupons on their smartphones. In partnership with the location-based app Roximity, it also alerts drivers to bargains in their immediate vicinity as they drive by.

» Jabil Circuit: With the purchase of Massachusetts-based Nypro, which makes precision plastic products, Jabil Circuit looks to bolster its presence in the health care, packaging and consumer electronics industries while adding a network of 12,000 employees to its global workforce of 140,000.

» Crystal Clear Technologies: Named to Inc. magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in America for two consecutive years, the St. Petersburg-based IT services and data communications company will add 18 employees this year.

People to Watch

» Bill Edwards/Jerry Campbell: The entrepreneur and the banker whose companies have worked closely over many years are going somewhat separate ways. In January, Edwards announced that he would sell his firm, Mortgage Investors Corp., to Tampa-based Home Bancorp, where Campbell is CEO. While Edwards will remain a consultant for Mortgage Investors, the sale will allow him to spend more time on civic projects, most notably securing tenants for his planned redevelopment of Shops at St. Pete (formerly BayWalk) downtown. Meanwhile, Edwards has hired former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker to oversee his operations. In addition to Mortgage Investors, HomeBanc is on track to acquire eight Pinellas County branches of First Bank.

» Mike Grego: The Pinellas County School superintendent hired in the fall of 2012 plans to launch a free, six-week summer enrichment program aimed at boosting student achievement and minimizing learning losses associated with the lengthy summer break. Details concerning locations, costs and curriculum are yet to be worked out; however, the program is expected to target roughly 12,000 struggling students.

Mass Transit

» Pinellas County voters may soon be asked to approve a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund light rail and expanded bus service. The board of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority has already signed off on the idea, which now goes to the Pinellas County Commission for review and final determination of whether to put the question on the November 2014 ballot.

Tampa Bay Rays

» While St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster remains committed to a contract that requires the Rays to play at Tropicana Field through 2027, the idea of building a stadium in mid-Pinellas County is again on the table, and Rays’ management has met with Hillsborough County officials to discuss options for relocating the team. Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has told Hillsborough commissioners that Major League Baseball could eliminate the team from Tampa Bay altogether.

Pinellas Population: 933,326
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 0.49%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
14.39% 4.98% 22.03% 36.73% 21.87%
Per Capita Income: $45,923

Pasco County

» The Pasco Economic Development Council reports a doubling of leads over the last year and facility/staff expansions at several locations. Topping the list: SB Manufacturing, which chose Dade City over sites in Ohio and Kentucky for its new aluminum castings plant that will employ 75.

» Elsewhere, Connecticut-based private equity firm Wheelock Street Capital closed on the first phase of developing the former Starkey Ranch land near State Road 54 and Gunn Highway for residential, retail, office and light industrial uses.

Pasco Population: 492, 338
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 1.57%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
17.29% 5.70% 21.85% 33.98% 21.19%
Per Capita Income: $33,390


Lakeland/ Polk County

» At 5,217, sales of existing homes in 2012 were up 13.8% over 2011’s total and the highest since 2006. By comparison, U.S. existing home sales increased 9.2% between 2011 and 2012.

»  Business activity continues to improve in many sectors: Construction is under way on the Winter Haven Rail Terminal, an intermodal facility aimed at solidifying Polk’s position as a logistics and distribution center serving the Southeast. Built and operated by Evansville Western Railway, an affiliate of Jacksonville-based CSX Transportation, the terminal is slated for completion by May 2014.

» A new alliance between the University of South Florida and Lakeland Regional Medical Center will add 200 medical residencies to an existing 712, making USF’s physician training program the largest in the state.

» Mosaic has opened Streamstrong Resort on reclaimed phosphate mining land 25 miles south of downtown Lakeland with two golf courses and a golf clubhouse; a 216-room main lodge is scheduled to open this fall.

Businesses to Watch

» Colo5: The Jacksonville-based data center operator is opening a $20-million, 105,000-sq.-ft. facility in Lakeland offering space and technology to protect small- to medium-sized business IT systems from theft, sabotage and natural disasters.

» Legoland Florida: Close on the heels of its Star Wars Miniland, which opened in November 2012, the Winter Haven-based theme park is looking to add another theme area — Pirate Shores — this year.

Polk Population: 621,648
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 0.95%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
19.40% 6.24% 24.24% 31.31% 18.80%
Per Capita Income: $34,722

Hernando County

» The Hernando County Airport, recently redubbed “Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport” in an effort to bolster its name recognition, is a focal point for development. The airport added a new air traffic control tower in December and three companies at its nearby industrial park — Accuform Signs, Airdyne Aerospace and Interconnect Cable Technologies — are adding staff and expanding workspace.

Hernando Population: 187,270
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 2.16%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
15.86% 5.52% 18.97% 32.99% 26.66%
Per Capita Income: $32,914

Citrus County

» In the wake of Duke Energy’s decision to retire its Crystal River nuclear plant, county commissioners and economic developers are scurrying to build a more diversified economic base with less emphasis on construction and power generation, more on light manufacturing, technology, tourism and medical care.

Citrus Population: 147,695
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 1.10%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
12.37% 4.57% 15.39% 33.78% 33.88%
Per Capita Income: $35,925