Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Business

Mitchell project, with Pasco aid, to add high-end office space

TRINITY — The Mitchell 54 West project, envisioned as a town center and a pedestrian-friendly gathering space amid shops, restaurants, movie screens and 800 homes, is adding a new component to bolster economic development.

The 330-acre site at the southwest corner of State Road 54 and Little Road in west Pasco is poised to become home to a 35,000-square-foot Class A office building, according to an incentive agreement approved Tuesday by Pasco County commissioners.

It is the first spec building to be constructed under a county program to accelerate job recruitment by ensuring industrial and office space is available for leasing. The key incentive is a $4 million county loan, financed by Penny for Pasco sales tax proceeds, to help offset the projected $9.275 million cost for the building.

"This is going to be an economic gangbuster for west Pasco," said Clarke Hobby, an attorney representing the Mitchell family, owners of the land.

The project also has a new development partner. Blackwater Resources of Alabama, which previously developed the Mitchell Ranch shopping plaza on the southeast corner of the intersection, now will handle all the commercial development within Mitchell 54 West. The Mitchells' previously announced buyer, Kitson & Partners of Palm Beach Gardens, will focus exclusively on the project's residential component.

Bill Cronin, president/CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council, lauded the spec building agreement.

"We have seen a lot of pent-up demand for speculative office space in our market, and the capital markets are not friendly to building spec space," Cronin said. "But we need the product to meet that demand."

Landowner Dewey Mitchell concurred.

"I've been trying for years to get someone to come up and do a Class A office building," Mitchell said. "It's hard to get Wall Street to invest in a tertiary market like Pasco."

The Building Owners and Managers Association International trade group defines Class A office space as "the most prestigious buildings competing for premier office users with rents above average for the area."

The agreement requires the private companies to build the project as a so-called transit-oriented development to include a multistory parking garage, reserved park-and-ride spots and bus stops to encourage mass transit. It would be the first such project developed in the county and is accompanied by a reduction in transportation fees, a savings that could reach up to $7 million.

Other incentives include a reduction in the loan principle if the office building maintains a 90 percent occupancy rate; up to $2.5 million in transportation fee credits for building a spine road within the development to relieve traffic at the SR 54/Little Road intersection; and up to $3 million in tax refunds over 15 years.

A June 2016 report from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council estimated the entire Mitchell 54 West project could create 3,200 new jobs, generate nearly $19 million in sales taxes yearly and pay $2.5 million in annual property taxes to the county.

Besides the housing and office building, the project plan includes a hotel, special grocery store, wine superstore, 12-screen movie theater, fitness center, department stores and special markets, and at least 10 restaurants.

Melanie Kendrick, program administrator for the county's strategic policy office, said the developers also agreed to market the outparcels within the project as office space.

"We're hoping to see a bigger boom in offices," Kendrick told commissioners.

Sale of the property from the Mitchells to Kitson and Blackwater Resources is contingent upon an Army Corps of Engineers permit. The construction schedule calls for work to begin May 1 and an opening date for the office parcel, town center, parking garage and mass transit features of March 15, 2019.

"This is an exciting project for the county," Commissioner Jack Mariano said. "Creating this first-class office space is a great thing for bringing jobs here."

Comments

Pinellas is at the center of a rise in Florida flu outbreaks

By JUSTINE GRIFFINTimes Staff Writer Feeling a little sniffly or scratchy or stuffed up? It may be the flu, and you don’t want to wait around to see a doctor this year. This is not the time to write off flu-like symptoms, Tampa Bay area health offici...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Raymond James advice for small to mid-sized companies about activist shareholders? Prepare and listen

Raymond James advice for small to mid-sized companies about activist shareholders? Prepare and listen

Shareholder fights between activist investors and publicly traded companies are getting nastier, especially in some industries, and a lot of them don’t involve corporate giants like General Motors and Procter & Gamble.In 2015, according to Raymond Ja...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Dow bursts through 26,000 in record seven trading days

Dow bursts through 26,000 in record seven trading days

The Dow Jones industrial average blew past 26,000 Tuesday for the first time ever, coming only a week after hitting 25,000 and showing further evidence that the long-running bull market is alive and well."There are several reasons for markets to melt...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Arizona-based AFI Mortgage opens St. Petersburg branch

Arizona-based AFI Mortgage opens St. Petersburg branch

Times StaffAFI Mortgage, a subsidiary of an Arizona-based bank, is opening its first Florida locations in St. Petersburg and Lakeland. Its parent company, AmeriFirst Financial Inc., specializes in mortgages. "This Florida team is innovative, knowledg...
Updated: 3 hours ago
St. Petersburg’s apartment boom is spreading west

St. Petersburg’s apartment boom is spreading west

By SUSAN TAYLOR MARTINTimes Senior CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — Still more apartments are coming to St. Petersburg, this time to the Edge and Grand Central Districts just west of downtown.The new projects, all by out-of-state developers, will add mo...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Some fear Spa Beach billowing net sculpture could catch birds and storms

Some fear Spa Beach billowing net sculpture could catch birds and storms

By WAVENEY ANN MOORETimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — International artist Janet Echelman may have fulfilled her $75,000 feasibility contract with the city and previewed her billowing, parasol-inspired sculpture for Spa Beach, but for some, key ques...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Pasco plans industrial site on utility property

Pasco plans industrial site on utility property

DADE CITY – Commissioner Jack Mariano remembers the message from economist William Fruth.Just seven months after Mariano joined the commission in 2004, Fruth, of Palm City, told the county’s elected and appointed officials that Pasco should explore d...
Published: 01/16/18
Help wanted: Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa has 250 jobs to fill

Help wanted: Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa has 250 jobs to fill

TAMPA — Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is holding a hiring event next week to fill more than 250 positions. The event will take place in the Hard Rock Cafe from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 24. Available positions include culinary, beverage, hotel, spa, ...
Published: 01/16/18
Modern game room fosters family approach

Modern game room fosters family approach

SPRING HILL – While no board games are evident at NeverBoard Gaming Community, the strategy and competitiveness of game playing are in full force, with the latest digital hardware modernizing the pursuit.The NeverBoard shop, a venue for video gaming ...
Published: 01/16/18

Pasco Business Digest for Jan. 19

Business digestBrieflyBELLE AME GIVES BACK: Belle Ame Day Spa & Salon, 21758 State Road 54, Lutz, announces fundraising opportunities for local civic groups or nonprofit organizations each month. The monthly featured group will organize between eight...
Published: 01/16/18