Make us your home page
Instagram

Is Jabil missing link for St. Pete core?

Even to skeptical columnists, it's hard to deny the economic momentum under way in downtown St. Petersburg.

A key puzzle piece by the name of Jabil Circuit is still missing. But let's first celebrate some of the good things happening.

A brand new business incubator, dubbed the TEC Garage, is in the works that will house space for 30 startups. A waterfront master plan will help preserve the city's trademark park space but better organize nearby business opportunities. Sundial, the revamped BayWalk shopping plaza, is starting to roll out new stores and restaurants. A brand new building for USF St. Petersburg's college of business will soon rise.

Want more? The Tampa Bay Rowdies, rejuvenated by new owner and St. Pete's one-man economic development machine Bill Edwards, now play at Al Lang Stadium. And fresh plans for a new, more viable Pier are under way.

I did not even mention downtown's biggest boom. New apartment and condo complexes are exploding. They range from the Beacon 430, a four-story, 326-apartment complex, to Modera Prime 235, an eight-story, 309-apartment building. And coming soon is the Hermitage, a $65 million project expected to open by late 2015 with 348 apartments.

Those complexes, and others in the works, will bring a vast supply of modern housing to a downtown lifestyle in demand for its walkable options in entertainment, education, shopping, restaurants and people gazing.

What's missing? More jobs. Significant jobs. Headquarters jobs. St. Pete's getting back on the economic development wagon, so some company expansion deals should be announced over the summer.

Don't forget Jabil Circuit.

It's the Fortune 200 global electronics manufacturer based off Roosevelt Boulevard in north St. Petersburg. It's also downtown's big question mark ever since this newspaper reported last July that Jabil might move its headquarters to land near Tropicana Field on the western edge of downtown St. Pete.

At that time, a draft plan for the downtown site included a 360,000-square-foot campus of Class A office space and parking that would make it downtown's largest commercial complex. While Jabil employs 1,600-plus workers at its headquarters, a good portion of them work in an adjacent manufacturing facility. If Jabil chooses a downtown HQ, those workers will likely stay where they are.

Initially, Jabil said it hoped to choose a headquarters site by the end of 2013. Now that decision feels overdue. It could stay where it is or build on land near its HQ. It could pick a different site. Or it could come downtown.

This much we do know: A Jabil headquarters in downtown St. Pete would a fill critical gap in the city's downtown renaissance. Highly trained, well-paid managers running a 177,000-employee worldwide corporation would be a feather in the workforce cap of just about any downtown on the planet.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at rtrigaux@tampabay.com.

Is Jabil missing link for St. Pete core? 05/27/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 6:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Wanted: New businesses on Safety Harbor's Main Street

    Local Government

    SAFETY HARBOR — A green grocery store, a hardware store, restaurants, boutiques and multi-use buildings are all wanted downtown, according to discussion at a community redevelopment workshop held last week. And to bring them to the Main Street district, city commissioners, led by Mayor Joe Ayoub, gave City Manager …

    Whistle Stop Bar & Grill is one of the main stops on Main Street in Safety Harbor. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  2. Q&A: A business leader and historian jointly delve into Tampa's waterfront

    Business

    TAMPA — As a native of Tampa, Arthur Savage has always had a passion for his hometown's history. And as a third-generation owner and operator of A.R. Savage & Son, a Tampa-based shipping agency, his affinity for his hometown also extends to its local waterways.

    Arthur Savage (left) and Rodney Kite-Powell, co-authors of "Tampa Bay's Waterfront: Its History and Development," stand for a portrait with the bust of James McKay Sr. in downtown Tampa on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. McKay, who passed away in 1876, was a prominent businessman, among other things, in the Tampa area. He was Arthur Savage's great great grandfather. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Tampa's connected-vehicle program looking for volunteers

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Drivers on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway can save on their monthly toll bill by volunteering to test new technology that will warn them about potential crashes and traffic jams.

    A rendering shows how new technology available through the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority will warn driver's about crashes, traffic jams, speed decreases and more. THEA is seeking 1,600 volunteers to install the devices, which will display alerts in their review mirrors, as part of an 18-month connected-vehicle pilot.
  4. What Florida's top Republicans are saying about Donald Trump

    State Roundup

    Republicans nationwide are blasting President Donald Trump for how he responded to Charlottesville.

  5. Tampa Bay Lightning, Amalie Arena to host job fair today

    Business

    TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Lightning and its home, Amalie Arena, are hosting a part-time job fair from 3 to 6 p.m. today on the Promenade Level of the arena. Available positions include platinum services, parking attendants, event security, housekeeping, retail and many other departments.

    The Tampa Bay Lightning and AMALIE Arena is hosting a part-time job fair on Thursday, Aug. 17 on the Promenade level of the arena.