The circus is moving the Big Top to Ellenton.
Well, its producers are.
Feld Entertainment, the production company behind touring shows such as Ringling Bros., Barnum and Bailey and Disney on Ice, announced Monday that it will gradually move its Virginia-based corporate operations to a new location in Ellenton.
Over the course of five years, about 190 positions will be transferred from the company's current corporate headquarters in Vienna, Va., in an effort to consolidate more operations under one roof. The company's production headquarters, which for the past 20 years has been located in nearby Palmetto, will also move to the new location.
The 148 employees in Palmetto will transfer to Ellenton, and the company is projected to create another 235 jobs in Manatee County as it expands in the area.
Stephen Payne, the company's vice president of corporate communications, said the planned growth and consolidation would not be possible at the smaller Palmetto facility.
The new location, at 2001 N U.S. 301, will house all of the company's production operations, including scenic design, costumes, sound, lighting and train maintenance. Construction on the $20 million property, previously owned by General Electric, will take about a year.
Feld Entertainment has long had roots in Florida, with its production operation in Palmetto and an elephant conservation facility in Polk County, Payne said. The company wanted to move to a bigger facility but stay in the same area.
Feld Entertainment was awarded about $3.8 million in county and state grants and tax incentives for expanding locally.