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Raymond James poised for Pasco expansion

The company files preliminary plans for five office buildings in Wesley Chapel

WESLEY CHAPEL — Raymond James Financial is advancing plans for a new satellite campus in Wiregrass Ranch, eight years after announcing the expansion.

The St. Petersburg-based financial services company filed a preliminary site plan with Pasco County last week and simultaneously requested a meeting with county planners, the typical precursor to initiating new development.

The site plan shows five separate office buildings, two parking garages and surface parking lots on the 65-acre site at State Road 56 and Mansfield Boulevard, east of the Shops at Wiregrass mall.

A preliminary plan filed with Pasco County shows the Raymond James Financial campus in Wesley Chapel would consist of five office buildings and two parking garages. [ Pasco County ]

Steve Hollister, the company’s director of public communications, said Raymond James Financial would not comment on the Pasco plans. The company previously called the Wiregrass Ranch property "a good future development opportunity.''

Raymond James Financial announced in 2011 that it planned a satellite campus in Wesley Chapel that would bring 750 jobs to southern Pasco. The company signed a letter of intent with the Porter family to acquire the land and the $1.7 million transaction closed five years later after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the environmental permit for construction.

The relatively inexpensive per-acre price of $26,153 was part of the Porter family’s incentives to try to lure the company to Pasco County, J.D. Porter of Wiregrass Ranch Inc. has said. That wasn’t the only financial enticement. The state and Pasco County offered $14 million in incentives to complete the deal.

The company’s plans have altered slightly. Initially, Raymond James planned two office towers, but then received approval from Pasco County in 2013 to construct six, four-story buildings totaling a million square feet of office space. The most recent site plan shows five office buildings.

At the time, a Pasco Economic Development Council analysis indicated the Raymond James campus could add $40 million to the county property tax rolls and generate $135 million in taxable sales.

"We are still very excited with the company’s dedication to their commitment to build something great at the site in Wiregrass,'' Bill Cronin, president and CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council said in a text message Monday.

Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore, whose district includes Wesley Chapel, echoed the sentiment. He said Raymond James Financial’s expansion reflects the local effort to bring higher-wage jobs to the county and to stem the number of daily commuters leaving Pasco for employment elsewhere.

The publicly traded company has approximately 7,800 financial advisers throughout the United States, Canada and overseas managing client assets of $765 billion.