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Pasco backs loan for speculative office space

A Georgia company is proposing to build Class A office buildings on speculation in Lutz. Courtesy Pasco County
A Georgia company is proposing to build Class A office buildings on speculation in Lutz. Courtesy Pasco County
Published Mar. 15, 2018

DADE CITY – With no tenants in hand, an Atlanta company wants to build a $37 million office campus near the Suncoast Parkway in Lutz, and Pasco County is willing to lend a financial hand.

Land Investment Partners LLC, 21, of Atlanta will receive a $6 million county loan to build a pair of three-story, 75,000-square-foot buildings, offering Class A office space.

The project is in NorthPointe Village, part of the Suncoast Crossings development on the southeast corner of State Road 54 and the parkway. Land Investment Partners has owned the two parcels, totaling nearly 18.5 acres, since 2010.

The county loan, financed by Penny for Pasco sales tax revenue, is intended to make up the financing gap between market rents and the estimated $37.1 million construction costs. The loans are interest-only payments initially, and the county will forgive the principal if the buildings are at least 75 percent occupied within five years of completion.

The county's office of Economic Growth estimated the buildings will generate 400 new jobs in direct hires or indirect workers with a payroll of nearly $28 million.

"I hope and believe the specing of this large project is what's going to get other office developers ... to come out and do projects in our great locations in Pasco,'' said attorney Clarke Hobby, who represented Land Investment Partners.

Commissioners unanimously approved the agreement Wednesday morning. The site is north of the new $30 million Mettler Toledo manufacturing plant and headquarters scheduled for a grand opening later this month.

"That corner is such an excellent example, I wish all the corners of all our interstates developed this way,'' said Commissioner Kathryn Starkey. "It's a wonderful location.''

It's the third time in the past 14 months that Pasco County has invested in Class A speculative space for office or industrial use in the SR 54 corridor.

In July 2017, the county committed to a similar $7 million, 10-year loan for up to 200,000 square feet of Class A speculative space from Harrod Properties in the Asturia development north of SR 54 and west of the Suncoast Parkway.

Seven months earlier, the county offered a $4 million loan to offset the projected $9.3 million cost of a 35,000-square-foot Class A office building at the Mitchell 54 West project at SR 54 and Little Road.

Neither of those projects has begun construction.

The county's industrial recruiters say the shortage of Class A space built on speculation hampers economic development efforts. The Building Owners and Managers Association International trade group defines Class A space as the "most prestigious buildings competing for premier users with rents above average for the area."

Reach C.T. Bowen at ctbowen@tampabay.com or (813) 435-7306. Follow @CTBowen2

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