Make us your home page

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

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

  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.