NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County sealed a deal with Moffitt Cancer Center on Tuesday, approving a $25-million incentive package and financing to build a Sunlake Boulevard extension and other infrastructure needed to provide access and utilities to Moffitt’s 775-acre central Pasco site.
In the project’s first phase, Moffitt will construct a minimum of 128,000 square feet for corporate business park use, which is expected to be completed within five years. That phase of the project will create 435 jobs and cost Moffitt $60 million to build. The site is near the future intersection of the Suncoast Parkway and the Ridge Road Extension, which is currently under construction.
The announcement that Moffitt is set to begin that first phase brought enthusiastic response from county commissioners and the Pasco Economic Development Council, which has been working on the project for several years.
The expanded clinical and research facilities will accommodate growth in the Tampa Bay region of complementary third-party research, product manufacturing, clinical providers, and conferencing facilities. The campus is expected to be a magnet for biotech and life sciences enterprises and innovation, and is expected to support more than 14,500 additional jobs in the area, according to a news release from the Pasco Economic Development Council.
“We are truly thankful for the funding support from the Pasco County commissioners,” said Doctor Patrick Hwu, president and chief executive officer of Moffitt Cancer Center. “Moffitt’s world-class expansion campus in Pasco County will allow us to treat more patients, conduct more groundbreaking research and develop innovative partnerships all in support of our mission to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.
Pasco County Commission Chairman Ron Oakley noted that the incentive is primarily made possible by the Jobs and Economic Opportunity Trust Fund through the Penny for Pasco.
In addition to providing $25 million for the infrastructure for the project, Pasco also agreed to waive nearly $800,000 in impact and permit fees on the work. Moffitt will be responsible for the design and permitting of the infrastructure, and the county agrees to complete several other road improvements key to the larger projects in the area before the five-year clock starts for Moffitt to complete its first phase.
Those other road projects for the county include completing the interchange of the Suncoast Parkway and the Ridge Road extension, completing the Ridge Road extension east from the Suncoast Parkway interchange to Sunlake Boulevard, and completing other Sunlake Boulevard segments to the Moffitt site, all expected to be done by the end of 2022.
Moffitt is one of only 51 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research and robust training and education. It has been successful in drawing biotech companies into the Tampa area, a trend which officials hope will continue with its new Pasco campus, as private-sector firms seek to work in Moffitt’s research facilities.