Pasco Commissioners on Tuesday approved millions of dollars in tax breaks and road work to lure Raymond James Financial Inc. and hundreds of jobs to a new home in Wiregrass.
The company will move some of its offices from Pinellas County and occupy a pair of 100,000-square-foot buildings in Wiregrass Ranch and bring along 750 jobs. The Pasco County site also will accommodate growth for the company.
The firm also wants the ability to expand up to 1 million square feet of office space.
Commissioners agreed Tuesday, Sept. 20, to a list of incentives in the form of tax and fee waivers that amount to $5,500,490.
Among the breaks were a rebate of property taxes of 75 percent up to $2.6 million and up to $1.9 million for creating new jobs in the county.
Based on the firm’s initial commitment of 750 new jobs, Pasco’s direct incentives that include the county’s payment of impact fees for water and sewer and fire protection, come to $7,334 a worker.
In addition, the county agreed to $4,469,400 in road improvements around the site at State Road 56. The public, however, will also benefit from some of the road work as will a park planned near the site.
The deal calls for building almost a half-mile of the four-lane Wiregrass Ranch Boulevard that could link State Road 54 with State Road 56.
Sources other than property taxes are paying for most of the road improvements and construction.
On top of the county incentives, Florida will contribute $4 million for road construction in addition to other financial incentives such as $1.4 million in tax refunds.
A study for the Pasco Economic Development Council concluded in return for the government incentives, the deal with Raymond James in its first 17 years would produce $40 million in local property taxes and $9 million in other taxes.
The move would produce a total of 1,200 direct or spinoff jobs with paychecks totaling about $600 million.
In addition, there would be about $135 million in sales subject to state sales taxes. Some of the sales tax collected locally flows back to Pasco County.
Construction should begin in 2012 and closing on the property should be in June, said Don Porter, a member of the family that owns the Wiregrass Ranch site.
The second building should be done eight years later.
“It was a series of very protracted and intense negotiations,” Porter said after the commission’s unanimous vote to approve the financial packages.
One of the lures that turned the search in Pasco’s favor was the availability of ample electricity and utility infrastructure at the site, Porter said.
Conducting millions of brokerage and investment transactions requires large amounts of electricity and Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative that serves the area had the capacity in place, Porter said.