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Tampa Bay Economic Indicators

Tampa is adding some healthcare muscle and will get a boost from the Republican National Convention in August, while St. Petersburg’s medical device industry shows strength.

Tampa Bay, Florida

Tampa/Hillsborough County

Dr. John Armstrong
Dr. John Armstrong, medical director of the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, which opened last month, says the center is expected to draw up to 60,000 medical professionals a year. [Photo: USf/Bobby Bishop]

What's Hot

» Call centers: Tampa's call centers created thousands of jobs last year. Humana alone added 700 positions in 2011, and OneTouch Direct says it will add 700 over the next two years. Other major call center employers include Progressive Insurance, Time Warner, TruGreen and Matrix Medical Network.

» Healthcare: USF's newly opened Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation will draw as many as 60,000 medical professionals a year to downtown Tampa. The $38-million facility, with 90,000 square feet, has high-tech simulators where doctors can practice surgical techniques without actually touching a patient. Meanwhile, Moffitt Cancer Center is looking to build a clinical and research facility on its Tampa campus. The hospital says the project has the potential to create 927 full-time jobs, including doctors, researchers and other health professionals.

What's Not

» Print media: Media General's Tampa Tribune cut 165 jobs last December, just one of a string of layoffs affecting newspapers across the state. The company reportedly is shopping its newspapers. The Tampa Bay Times, formerly the St. Petersburg Times, says it reduced staff by 6% last year but did not reveal the exact number of jobs cut. The Times also cut full-time workers' pay 5% and sold one of its employee parking lots. Halifax Media Group purchased the New York Times Regional Media Group newspaper chain, then cut 30 jobs at offices the chain operated in Tampa.

Businesses to Watch

» Newland Communities: Betting that the recession is nearing its end and that people will start buying homes again, Newland Communities is breaking ground on Waterset, an Apollo Beach-area development with 3,800 homes slated. The 2,350-acre master-planned community, on the drawing board since 2004, was put on hold in 2007 when the housing market tumbled.

» Red Hawk Interactive: The Tampa startup sells interactive services for online streaming services. Sean Davis, a former project manager at Valpak, leads the company, which got early help from the Gazelle Lab business incubator.

» PMSI: The workers' compensation management company is opening a pharmacy center in Tampa, where it will coordinate more than 2 million pharmacy claims a year. The company employs 650 in Tampa Bay.

» Telovations: The company's Speech Assist service makes it easier for people calling a company to connect with the person they're calling. Rather than dial an extension or type in the first few letters of a name, callers just need to speak the name or extension of the person they want to reach. Last year, Telovations purchased FeatureTel, a North Carolina communications company, and committed to keep its headquarters in Tampa.

People to Watch

» Andrew Wright: The 31-year-old Wright heads up Franklin Street Partners, one of the fastest-growing commercial real estate companies in the Southeast. Founded in Tampa six years ago, the company now has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville and Atlanta.

» Santiago Corrada: Mayor Bob Buckhorn's new chief of staff is the city's go-to person for the Republican National Convention. Corrada's background includes overseeing the city's convention center.

» Joe Lopano: Since becoming CEO of Tampa International Airport a year ago, Lopano has fulfilled his promise to attract more international flights. His early success got him a $50,000 raise, which some members of the airport's governing board thought came too quickly. The raise brings his pay to $355,000 a year, still slightly less than what he made at his last job at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Issues to Watch

» Republican National Convention: In August, the "eyes of the country and the eyes of the world" will be on Tampa, says Robert J. Rohrlack Jr., president and CEO of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. The convention is expected to bring more than 50,000 visitors, including up to 6,000 delegates and 15,000 members of the media. The host committee has reserved more than 15,000 hotel rooms. Restaurants and other venues on both sides of the bay are lining up to host parties and other events.

Hillsborough Population: 1,269,653
Population Growth Rate (2008-12): 1.49%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
19.72% 6.84% 28.62% 32.66% 12.15%
Per Capita Income: $39,759

MSA Dec. 2011 Dec. 2010 % Change Jobless Rate
Lakeland/Winter Haven 240,809 241,300 -.2% 10.7%
Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater 1,171,437 1,140,498 +2.7% 10.0%
Source: Agency for Workforce Innovation

Homes - Single-family, existing-home sales
MSA 2011 Sales 1-Year Change 2011 Price 1-Year Change
Lakeland/ ?
Winter Haven 3,562 +1% $93,400 -8%
Tampa/St. Pete/ ?
Clearwater 30,425 +6% $120,600 -9%
Source: Florida Realtors; year-end sales, median price

Hillsborough County Consumer Bankruptcies
2010 2011 Change
7,365 5,931 -19.5%
Source: National Bankruptcy Research Center

St. Petersburg/Pinellas County

Dolphin Tale
'Dolphin Tale' (above) was filmed in Pinellas County. Other film projects include 'Spring Breakers,' 'Magic Mike' and 'Sunlight Jr.' [Photo: Warner Bros. pictures]

What's Hot

» Filmmaking: Pinellas County is suddenly a trendy place to make movies. First came Dolphin Tale, based on the story of Winter, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's prosthetic-tail-wearing dolphin. So far, Dolphin Tale has grossed more than $83 million at the box office and $20 million in domestic DVD sales. Other projects filming in Pinellas due to be released later: Spring Breakers, starring James Franco; Magic Mike, directed by Steven Soderbergh; and Sunlight Jr., starring Matt Dillon.

» Medical devices: Even during the recession, Pinellas has seen its medical device industry expand. Major players include Transitions Optical, Essilor, Oscor, Linvatec, Maxxim Medical, Halkey-Roberts, Cardinal Health and Florida Infusion Services. According to the Tampa Bay Partnership, 185,000 people (11% of the region's workforce) are employed in the medical technologies and services industry.

What's Not

» Commercial real estate: The best that can be said about Pinellas County's industrial real estate market is that it's "bumping along the bottom" and probably won't get any worse, says Patricia Nooney, a senior managing director for CBRE in Tampa Bay. In the mid-Pinellas submarket alone, there are 2 million square feet of vacant industrial space. Pinellas' office market, buoyed by lower lease rates, looks better, although the office vacancy rate is still 22% countywide.

Businesses to Watch

» IRX Therapeutics: Backed by a major incentives package, which includes $925,000 from the state, county and the University of South Florida, plus a $275,000 land credit from St. Petersburg, the clinical stage biotechnology company must now fulfill its promise of creating 280 jobs. IRX is working on cancer treatments — particularly a drug it calls IRX-2 — and has raised $90 million to fund its work.

» National Forensic Science Technology Center: A non-profit corporation, the center offers training and other services to the justice, forensic science and defense industries. The center, which is helping attract a growing cluster of forensics businesses in Pinellas County, won a Governor's Business Diversification Award last year.

» Crystal Clear Technologies: The St. Petersburg company, which offers a variety of professional, IT and technical services to government clients, has grown to $16 million in revenue. The company moves into a larger headquarters this year.

» Progress Energy Florida: The utility has a number of major issues to deal with this year: A pending merger with North Carolina-based Duke Energy; repairing cracks at its crippled Crystal River Nuclear Plant in Citrus County; and continuing its effort to build another nuclear facility in Levy County.

People to Watch

Bill Edwards
» Bill Edwards: The chairman and CEO of Mortgage Investors Corp. is methodically making over St. Petersburg's arts and retail scene. He had a hand in rebranding downtown's Jannus Landing into the music venue Jannus Live. He revamped the Club at Treasure Island and took over management of downtown's struggling Mahaffey Theater, where early results of his changes are encouraging. Now, he's purchased BayWalk, downtown's nearly empty retail complex, and promises to make it relevant again.

» Glen Gilzean: Gov. Rick Scott's choice of Glen Gilzean to fill the seat of the late Lew Williams on the Pinellas County School Board surprised many, particularly since the 29-year-old had only lived in the county for a few months. Like Scott, Gilzean is an advocate of school vouchers. Gilzean will have to be a quick learner. His term runs through November.

Midny Grossman
» Mindy Grossman: HSN's CEO was named 2011's "corporate innovator of the year" at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Florida Awards. Meanwhile, New York-based Avon has approached Grossman about becoming its new CEO.

» Paul Reilly: The CEO of St. Petersburg-based Raymond James Financial will work this year to assimilate Morgan Keegan & Co. Raymond James is buying the Tennessee-based brokerage for $930 million. The transaction makes Raymond James one of the country's largest wealth management and investment banking firms not based in New York City.

» Bill Foster and Stuart Sternberg: The mayor and the owner of the Tampa Bay Rays are talking again, giving hope that the Rays might stay in Pinellas County. Sternberg wants a new stadium and the mayor wants the team to honor its contract to play in Tropicana Field. After months without contact, Foster and Sternberg met cordially and promised to meet again. Meanwhile, the city will step up its promotional efforts on behalf of the team in hopes of boosting attendance.

Issues to Watch

The Lens
The 'Lens' will replace St. Petersburg's iconic Pier attraction. [Photo: Michael Maltzan Architecture]

» The Pier: After debating the future of its deteriorating pier for years, the city of St. Petersburg has decided to replace the iconic inverted pyramid with a project called the Lens, a striking structure with looping bridges and a tiara-looking canopy towering over a natural reef. The budget: No more than $50 million. The community, via a series of public hearings, gets to tweak the plans, making it unlikely that construction will begin before 2013. "This is the first time in a long time that our community has had a chance to build something that looks out 50, 75 years into the future," says Chris Steinocher, president and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. "This next year is going to be about what kind of legacy are we going to leave."

Pinellas Population: 932,220
Population Growth Rate (2008-12): 0.43%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
14.47% 5.27% 21.78% 37.10% 21.38%
Per Capita Income: $46,627

Pinellas County Consumer Bankruptcies
2010 2011 Change
5,225 4,062 -22.3%
Source: National Bankruptcy Research Center

Lakeland/Polk County

Publix distribution center
Publix is expanding its distribution center. [Photo: Publix]

It's starting feel a little bit like pre-recession 2007 in Polk County, says Claudia Tritton, business development director at the Lakeland Economic Development Council. "Things are picking up," she says. Some evidence: Polk-based Publix Super Markets is nearly doubling the size of its 590,000-sq.-ft. County Line Road distribution center; Coca-Cola is spending $99 million to expand its 720,000-sq.-ft. juice production facility in Polk County and create 60 jobs; Texas-based Mission Foods is expected to spend $23 million to open a 168,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Lakeland; New Jersey's Matheson Tri-Gas is building a $40-million gas plant in east Lakeland. On the retail side, Big Lots will open two locations in Polk County this year.

Businesses to Watch

» SteriPack USA: The Ireland-based company, which makes flexible medical packaging, chose Lakeland to open its first U.S. production facility, expected to open this summer.

» Legoland Florida: The Winter Haven theme park — located on the site of the old Cypress Gardens attraction — is planning to open a water park component this summer.

Polk Population: 614,566
Population Growth Rate (2008-12): 0.82%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
19.64% 6.46% 24.08% 31.49% 18.33%
Per Capita Income: $34,540

Polk County Consumer Bankruptcies
2010 2011 Change
3,180 2,579 -18.9%
Source: National Bankruptcy Research Center


Hernando County

Thecounty'smanufacturers are "holding up pretty well in these tough times," says Michael McHugh, manager of economic development at the Hernando County Office of Business Development. He says sign maker Accuform, for example, continues to expand. The company employs 245. The county, meanwhile, is looking to attract a cluster of aviation maintenance companies to its Hernando County Airport and Business Center. McHugh thinks better times are ahead. "For the last 90 to 120 days, we have seen activity levels pick up — more people contacting us for information and more companies making plans or considering expansions," he says. "That is always a precursor to action. We're encouraged for 2012."

Hernando Population: 187,719
Population Growth Rate (2008-12): 2.15%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
15.98% 5.74% 18.68% 33.35% 26.24%
Per Capita Income: $32,610

Pasco County

John Hagen

John Hagen, president and CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council, says he's seeing a boost in demand for office space "on the tail of Raymond James Financial's decision to expand at Wiregrass and create 750 jobs." Meanwhile, Odessa-based PharmaWorks, which manufactures machines that make blister packaging for pharmaceuticals, won the 2011 manufacturer of the year award from the Manufacturers Association of Florida. Also, Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America have donated $10,000 each to the Pasco Economic Development Council's microloan fund to help small businesses.

Pasco Population: 491,892
Population Growth Rate (2008-12): 1.62%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
17.50% 5.95% 21.66% 34.10% 20.79%
Per Capita Income: $32,361


Citrus County

John Siefert
EDC Executive Director John Siefert is pushing for a port.
The county is working toward creating the state's 15th port along a stretch of the old Cross Florida Barge Canal. A $100,000 port-feasibility study is under way and should be completed this year. The Florida Legislature has approved the concept of a port in Citrus. John Siefert, executive director of the Citrus County Economic Development Council, is excited about the possibilities. "As you look around the state and country, wherever there has been a port there has been economic results," Siefert says. "Jobs have been produced and companies have located there. My gut tells me a Citrus port will create between 200 and 400 substantial jobs."

Citrus Population: 149,002
Population Growth Rate (2008-12): 1.19%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
12.58% 4.85% 15.26% 34.46% 32.85%
Per Capita Income: $34,460