Make us your home page
In their words

Economic leaders offer wish list for bay area job creation

TAMPA — The Wednesday morning event, featuring a roster of top economic development leaders in the region, was billed as a job creation summit. It morphed quickly into a job creation wish list of what the bay area needs to reduce its 10.1 percent unemployment rate: more microloans for small business; greater community and political support for mass transit; more strategic alliances among development groups and companies. Top of the list: more money.

Mike Meidel and Gene Gray, the heads of Pinellas' and Hillsborough's economic development units, respectively, said their budgets were being slashed by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That shortfall makes it doubly hard to fund business growth at a time when state incentive money has dried up. As economic development leaders noted, the state's innovation fund to entice research and development businesses here has no money available, and a "quick-action closing fund" to help Florida compete against other states has only $13 million left.

The event at the Pepin Hospitality Centre was hosted by the Tampa Bay chapter of NAIOP, a trade group representing the commercial real estate industry, a sector particularly hard-hit by job loss.

In a sign of the times, chapter membership has fallen from 240 last year to fewer than 200 now. About 100 attended the summit.

Here's what some economic leaders are saying:

"I do sometimes worry about how Florida is perceived as not being as competitive with incentives."

Keith Norden, executive managing director of the Committee of One Hundred in Tampa

"I don't think any of us would kid ourselves that we're a well-oiled machine."

Bob Abberger, managing director for the development and investment group of Trammell Crow's Florida division

"There's $8 billion to $13 billion (in federal funds) out there to spend on high-speed rail and Florida has done more work on this than any other state. … We need a leader from the state to step up."

Stuart Rogel, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership

"There's a lot of interest (in expanding) from a lot of companies. The fundamental problem is they're not able to pull the trigger because they can't get the money."

Gene Gray, director of the Hillsborough County Economic Development Department

"What we need is broad-based growth, and that's not going to happen until the credit markets open up."

Mike Meidel, director of Pinellas County Economic Development

Economic leaders offer wish list for bay area job creation 05/27/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 28, 2009 10:57am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Sunday Supper returns with 25 chefs, food fests galore

    Food & Dining

    Save the date: SUNDAY SUPPER

    This just might be the dinner of the year. The Bern's family of restaurants has organized a James Beard Foundation fundraiser to fund the Bern Laxer Memorial Scholarship for culinary students in the state of Florida for a number of years. But this week they announced the …

    Bern’s Steak House located at 1208 S Howard Ave, Tampa on Wednesday 2/19014
  2. Locale Market changes yet again, rebranding the restaurant as FarmTable Cucina

    Food & Dining

    When Locale Market opened in Sundial St. Pete in Dec. 2014, it was the most-hyped, most-anticipated gourmet market/food hall/culinary playground Tampa Bay had ever seen. Since then, celebrity chef-owner Michael Mina has done what every entrepreneur does in the face of challenges: tinker.

    Chef Michael Mina and chef Jeffrey Hileman work in the kitchen at Farmtable Kitchen in 2016. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times
  3. U.S. home construction tumbles 4.7 percent in September

    Working Life

    WASHINGTON — Construction of new homes fell 4.7 percent in September, the biggest decline in six months, reflecting weakness in both single-family activity and apartment building.

    Construction of new homes fell 4.7 percent in September, the biggest decline in six months, reflecting weakness in both single-family activity and apartment building.  [Associated Press file photo]

  4. Agreement means Spectrum won't lose Viacom programming


    Less than a week after disputes between two cable industry conglomerates became public, the two companies have reached an agreement.

    Viacom and Charter Communications released a joint statement that the companies reached an agreement in principle. Charter also markets itself as Spectrum. [AP file photo]
  5. Wing of Channelside Bay Plaza being demolished to make way for Water Street Tampa


    TAMPA — The original developers of Channelside Bay Plaza at first wanted the name of the complex to include the word "Garrison." That would have fit, because the center turned out to be fort-like, inwardly focused and unwelcoming.

    A pedestrian bridge in the southwest wing of Channelside Bay Plaza was demolished in Tampa on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. [Gabriella Angotti-Jones  | Times]