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Pasco approves incentives to lure communications company from Tampa

NEW PORT RICHEY — When he walked into Tuesday's Pasco County Commission meeting, Robert Veschi says he wasn't sure where he'd relocate his mobile communications company.

But when he walked out, he said, "I think I made my decision today."

Veschi, president of EdgeAccess in Tampa, says he'll build in Pasco after commissioners approved an incentive package worth $132,450 to lure him into the county. He said he had been considering sites in Hillsborough as well.

That package, which reduces upfront development costs, includes the deferral of almost $82,000 in permit and impact fees plus the reimbursement of more than $50,700 in fees over five years. The incentives are contingent on the company meeting certain wage and employment projections.

The 16-year-old firm has 23 employees and plans to add another 22 jobs at its new location in its first phase of construction. The average company wage is $81,368, according to information submitted to the county.

EdgeAccess manufactures satellite-based communication systems used by first responders and develops hardware and software technology that allows voices to be transmitted over data networks, including the Internet.

The company plans to build in ComPark, a business park off State Road 54 in Wesley Chapel. The first phase of Edge's project includes a 23,200-square-foot building and a second phase of up to 20,000 square feet.

That park "needs a shot in the arm," said Jim Cracchiolo, a member of the business incentive commission, which makes recommendations to county commissioners. "It needs new buildings, and it needs new jobs."

Veschi, who lives in Wesley Chapel, said in an interview that his company's units can be seen on a Hillsborough emergency service truck. He said the company also has a contract to build 500 "office in a box" units, which contain servers, routers and firewalls, for the Army Reserve.

In other business:

• Commissioners signed off on a document memorializing the latest changes to 2008 financial incentive agreements for the proposed T. Rowe Price project. Those changes include several deadline extensions.

T. Rowe now has until December 2015 — rather than the original deadline of December 2013 — to finish its first building and still remain eligible for the first $1 million of the county's economic development grant. Pasco County, in turn, gets three more years — until December 2013 — to finish the first two lanes of Sunlake Boulevard, a road critical to the project.

• Trinity developers got commissioners' blessing for a number of changes to a development order, including the addition of 135,680 square feet of medical office space and another 115 single-family homes.

The county staff and developers also agreed to work over the next year to come up with a "mutually acceptable mix of uses" for a 100-acre parcel along and near State Road 54 and Trinity Boulevard.

County officials say they want to make sure that land is considered for employment center uses, such as light industrial, rather than the typical retail and residential uses. But if the two sides can't come up with an agreement, the developers may use that property solely for residential.

• SunWest Harbourtowne, a marina and 2,500-home project proposed near Aripeka, cleared another bureaucratic hurdle Tuesday as commissioners approved sending the final staff report on the project to the Department of Community Affairs.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6247.

Pasco approves incentives to lure communications company from Tampa 06/23/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 8:43pm]
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