Super Bowl Dividends
Still beaming after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Super Bowl win, regional economic development officials hope the victory translates into business gains. "The national and international recognition this brings -- - Citrus and Hernando counties have some of the highest percentages of 65+ residents, 32.4% and 30.2% respectively. Only Charlotte, Highlands and Sarasota have higher percentages.you can't pay for that," says Rhea Law, chairwoman of the Tampa Bay Partnership, the region's economic development organization.
More concretely, Tampa Bay economic developers are pushing trade with Mexico and counting on established medical services and manufacturing businesses to produce jobs. Longer term, they hope the University of South Florida's year-old incubator will help seed more technology companies.
Meanwhile, growth is pushing housing prices higher in Hillsborough and Pinellas, where the median sales price jumped 8% last year to $139,000. Demand is spilling into Pasco and Polk, where houses can be $20,000 to $30,000 cheaper. The housing boom in the northern counties is contributing to traffic congestion throughout the region.
KEY CHALLENGE: Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce officials have crafted a transportation plan to help keep up with traffic. If passed by the Hillsborough County Commission, residents will vote in November 2004 on a package including a half-cent sales tax, a 5-cent-per-gallon gas tax and higher impact fees that would generate $100 million a year, according to the Tampa chamber.
PERSON TO WATCH: Christine Burdick, named president of the Tampa Downtown Partnership last April, came from Chicago with 30 years of experience in urban redevelopment and is charged with revitalizing downtown. Her goal: More residential properties, restaurants, shops and night life; also, reducing the downtown office vacancy rate of 15.2%.
BUSINESS TO WATCH: Two of four startup companies at the University of South Florida's Center for Entrepreneurship, a 1-year-old incubator led by Michael Fountain, are profitable, although Fountain declines to name them. Fountain, who has been launching startups for more than 20 years, says the center is in negotiations with two other companies. Firms at the center focus on biotechnology, information technology and simulation.
KEY CHALLENGE: "Our challenge is redevelopment. Our strength is that we're good at it," says St. Petersburg Economic Development Director Ron Barton. With virtually no open space left, the city is looking skyward -- at least seven condominium projects are under development or in the planning stages near the city's waterfront. The city is also using federal and state grants as part of an effort to revitalize its economically depressed Midtown neighborhood. One issue that may go before voters in November: The fate of Albert Whitted Municipal Airport, a civil aviation facility that occupies 110 acres on the city's waterfront. The airport is home to about 200 aircraft and a few related businesses; city plans to sell the land or reduce the size of the airport have hit fierce opposition.
BUSINESSES TO WATCH: Opus South Corp., the Florida subsidiary of Minnesota-based Opus Group, has proposed two downtown condominium towers that will include about 270 units, with prices ranging from $300,000 to about $2 million. ... Custom Manufacturing and Engineering supplies monitoring devices to the military and other government agencies, including surveillance equipment for highways and for missiles for F-16s. Owner Nancy Crews says revenue has doubled in the last year to $14 million.
PEOPLE TO WATCH: Mayor Brian Aungst is leading an effort to revitalize Clearwater Beach and the downtown area, where 16 projects are under way or planned, with a total value of more than $125 million. Aungst jokes that the city will be "helping the construction industry for years to come." ... Miles Ballogg, brownfields and economic development manager at Clearwater-based TBE Group, has helped bring in close to $1 million in state and federal grants to
revitalize the city's depressed Greenwood area.
BUSINESS TO WATCH: St. Petersburg-based Sembler Corp. is converting the old Clearwater Mall, which had been losing money for the last decade, into a $100-million, 785,000-sq.-ft. open-air shopping center with SuperTarget, Costco and Lowe's as anchors.
LAKELAND / Polk County
KEY TREND: Polk County, part of the I-4 corridor that has had trouble attracting high-tech companies, is getting a reputation as a haven for distribution centers. Land is cheap, and the county has eased permitting and regulatory procedures. Rooms-To-Go, Wal-Mart and Publix have all established distribution centers here, and the county is hoping to wrap up a deal for a Lowe's center as well. Eighty percent of the goods moving through the Tampa port come from Polk County, says Jim DeGennaro, Polk's director of business development.
BUSINESSES TO WATCH: Lakeland-based Saddle Creek Corp., a distribution and warehousing provider focusing on the grocery and home improvement sectors, has more than 1,000 employees and 19 facilities in six states throughout the Southeast. It's been growing an average of 20% a year. ... McKesson Pharmaceuticals, a drug distribution company based in San Francisco, employs 160 in Lakeland and plans to create 50 more jobs this year.
Citrus / Hernando / Pasco Counties
KEY TREND: In 1998, 2,500 single-family home building permits were issued in Pasco. By 2002, that number had reached 4,800. "The same house in Pinellas or Hillsborough will cost $25,000 less in Pasco," explains Mary Jane Stanley, the county's economic development director. All the growth has put a strain on local parks, schools and roads, however, with an estimated 64,000 workers commuting from the county each day. Meanwhile, the Suncoast Parkway has improved access to Citrus and Hernando counties, which also are seeing a boom in retail and home construction.
PERSON TO WATCH: Joe Richardson, president and CEO of Pasco's Global Energy and Environmental Research Group, is selling patented energy-efficient air conditioning and refrigeration units that reduce energy consumption by 20% to 40%. The company has customers in Florida, California and Arizona.
BUSINESSES TO WATCH: Sho Me Natural Products in Hernando's Airport Industrial Park manufactures nutritional supplements and is more than tripling the size of its facility. ... Wal-Mart is building two superstores and a 133,000-sq.-ft. Sam's Club in Spring Hill.
POPULATION TOTALSAnnual Percentage ChangeCounty20022003'02-'03'98-'03'03-'08Citrus123,179125,827 2.15%2.01%1.79%Hernando136,065138,4821.78%1.88%2.06%Hillsborough1,053,8621,075,4482.05%2.47%1.82%Pasco359,839365,8061.66%2.12%1.61%Pinellas936,868942,9950.65%0.73%0.68%Polk505,537512,6071.40%1.99%1.51%FLORIDA16,689,00216,977,8901.73%2.08%1.75%
JOB TOTALSAnnual Percentage ChangeCounty20022003'02-'03'98-'03'03-'08Citrus29,70430,6553.20%2.89%2.14%Hernando33,56034,2692.11%3.83%2.32%Hillsborough655,214674,0162.87%3.12%2.65%Pasco81,64283,4692.24%2.02%2.24%Pinellas492,808500,7631.61%2.98%1.63%Polk187,177191,1022.10%1.78%1.85%FLORIDA7,318,6977,488,0472.31%2.45%2.16%
POPULATION BY AGEYears of AgeCounty0-1415-1920-3940-6465+TOTALCitrus13.0%4.9%15.4%34.3%32.4%125,827Hernando14.9%5.2%16.9%32.7%30.2%138,482Hillsborough20.8%6.9%28.5%31.5%12.3%1,075,448Pasco16.0%5.3%19.6%32.1%27.0%365,806Pinellas15.6%5.3%22.4%34.5%22.2%942,995Polk19.7%6.7%23.8%30.8%19.0%512,607FLORIDA18.5%6.5%25.4%32.0%17.6%16,977,890
PER CAPITA INCOMEPer Capita
Income 2003Source of IncomeCountyLaborPropertyTransferCitrus$23,50938.9%30.8%30.3%Hernando$25,70846.2%25.7%28.1%Hillsborough$30,24269.7%16.5%13.8%Pasco$27,15055.8%20.4%23.8%Pinellas$35,06860.4%23.3%16.3%Polk$25,73562.9%18.1%19.0%FLORIDA$30,65460.2%23.7%16.1%
SOURCE: "Florida Long-Term Economic Forecast 2002," the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Florida. Data are estimates or projections. Population data include military stationed in Florida and inmates. Jobs data measure civilian, nonagricultural wage and salary positions. Property income includes rent, dividend and interest payments; transfer income includes retirement, veterans and unemployment benefits, Medicare, Medicaid and income assistance.