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October 31, 2014

EN ESPA

New Directions

Ready workforce and a fertile business climate are hallmarks of Tampa Bay’s appeal.

Gary B. Shepherd | 10/1/2007

Rich in Arts

The arts are alive and thriving throughout the Tampa Bay region. Performance venues include:

  • Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa — with 335,000 square feet and five theaters, the largest performing arts complex south of The Kennedy Center.
  • Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater — with 2,180 seats for concerts, recitals, plays and Broadway-style productions.
  • Mahaffey Theater at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, St. Petersburg — newly renovated offering 2,030 seats and a ballroom.

There are plenty of visual arts to enjoy, too. Florida Southern College in Lakeland boasts the largest on-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world, and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota offers 21 galleries of European paintings, among other exhibits. A new downtown Tampa Museum of Art is slated to open in 2009 adjacent to another new project, the Children’s Museum.

Making an impact

The arts industry represents an economic impact of $404.2 million annually and provides 7,000 jobs in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, according to a 2006 study by the non-profit Tampa Bay Business Committee for the Arts (TBBCA).

Hernando County

Zoned and Ready

Florida’s exact geographic center is located 12 miles northwest of Brooksville in Hernando County; railways and highways (I-75 and the Suncoast Parkway) provide easy access in and out. But it is land — and, in particular, land zoned and ready for industrial and corporate development — that makes this county appealing.

At Hernando County Airport RailPark off U.S. 41, Duratek Precast Structures is building a $12-million facility to manufacture concrete panels for residential, educational and institutional uses. The 75,000-square-foot expansion on a 14-acre site is slated to open late in 2007 and add 90 employees to Duratek’s existing 125. Duratek funded the project using tax-exempt bonds available for manufacturers.

Tissco LLC, a Danish-based maker of beverage-dispensing equipment, will also be moving into the Airport RailPark. Tissco is merging with its sister company Micro Matic and will be expanding into a 50,000-square-foot facility in the second quarter of 2008, doubling its staff to 100 over the next two years. Tissco has been in Hernando since 2001, and COO Torben Toftegaard says the company stayed in the county due to land availability, a fine labor force and the excellent quality of life.

The former Brooksville Regional Hospital is being redeveloped into a 118,000-square-foot mixed-use facility at its 11-acre site. “The Oaks” will include an assisted living facility and office, retail and institutional space.

Tags: Tampa Bay, Business Florida

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