Monday, February 19, 2018
Business

USAA adding up to 1,215 jobs, building facility in Brandon

Hillsborough County has pulled off another jobs coup.

Financial services giant USAA said Tuesday it will add up to 1,215 jobs by 2019 and build a 420,000-square-foot facility in Brandon to accommodate its expansion.

USAA, which serves military families, is investing $164.3 million in the facility, which will become the largest build-to-suit office project in Hillsborough County since 2001.

"This is a biggie," said Rick Homans, Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. chief executive. "A project of this magnitude will move the needle in terms of metrics and indicators, and household incomes and unemployment. When you add 1,200 high-paying jobs and invest almost $165 million in Hillsborough County, there is a massive economic ripple effect."

USAA, based in San Antonio, Texas, currently employs more than 1,800 people at its Commerce Park facility in New Tampa near Interstate 75.

USAA anticipates hiring 90 employees by Dec. 31, and plans to hire anywhere from 124 to 274 employees every year thereafter through 2018, confirmed Jen Becker, USAA executive director of public relations. The new jobs are expected to pay an average of $47,581.

"USAA is growing as the demand for our financial products and services among the military community increases," chief executive officer Joe Robles said in a statement. "We've had a great team of employees in Tampa for 40 years, and we are excited to grow that team in this great military community."

The company is already posting area jobs online at usaa.com, seeking to fill a broad array of insurance and banking positions, including customer contact representatives.

USAA is a member-owned Fortune 500 company with 25,000 employees. It ranked 40th on Fortune magazine's 2013 "100 best companies to work for" list. In 2012, it ranked 20th.

Initially, USAA will lease 50,000 square feet of temporary office space at Lakeview Center in Tampa until it can complete construction of its 420,000-square-foot facility at Brandon's Crosstown Center in 2015. Its existing operations in New Tampa are full.

The announcement comes on the heels of HealthPlan Services commitment to add 1,000 jobs in Tampa over five years and Amazon's deal to build warehouses in Ruskin and Lakeland and add about 1,000 jobs. The Tampa Bay area also leads the state in job creation this year.

The USAA deal was made possible through incentives and partnerships between state and local organizations including Enterprise Florida, the Tampa Hillsborough EDC, Hillsborough County, Workforce Florida Inc. and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Hillsborough County Commissioners approved a local incentive package of $729,000, supporting a commitment of $2.9 million from the state through its "Qualified Target Industry," or QTI, program.

According to the state, that total QTI allocation of $3.65 million will provide USAA with $3,000 per job for each of the newly created, high-wage positions. The incentives will be distributed over a period of nine years, the state said, and are performance-based. That means the funds are only paid after the jobs are created at the wages promised.

"This is great news for Florida families and another sign that Florida is becoming the number one state for business," said Gov. Rick Scott.

The first inkling of a major and unidentified company seeking a major location occurred early this year when site selectors contacted the Tampa Hillsborough EDC and other economic development groups.

Later, when it became clear which company was seeking a major expansion site, the stakes got higher, according to Homans.

"That's because of the presence USAA already had in this market place, and the quality of the company and quality of the jobs it will create," he said.

Staff writer Jeff Harrington contributed to this story. Robert Trigaux can be reached at [email protected]

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