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Behind the deal: How St. Pete secured Webull

Veronica Brezina



200 Carillon Parkway, St. Petersburg. GoogleMaps.

New details have surfaced on how the city stakeholders recruited New York-based online trading platform Webull, which has opened an office in the Carillon business park. 

Late last year, Webull purchased the 157,755-square-foot building, the headquarters of marketing firm Catalina, in a $29.5 million deal. The office purchase allowed Webull to expand as it was leasing space inside the Thrive co-working hub in downtown St. Petersburg. 

At the time, Webull executives didn’t comment about the purchase and plans for the office; however, the St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation revealed the details in a new blog post

Webull wanted to attract new employees in an in-person environment outside its New York headquarters and was considering additional office space in Austin, Atlanta and North Carolina. However, the company reached out to the St. Pete Economic Development Corp., according to the EDC’s post.

Shen Lu, Webull’s COO, said the firm was looking at St. Pete because of Florida’s business-friendly climate. 

The EDC arranged a community tour, connecting Webull to stakeholders in the city, including local real estate firm Smith and Associates and Tampa-based company Relofant, which provides business relocation project management services. 

The EDC also connected the executive with an immigration attorney to explore relocating non-U.S. executives. It also introduced the Webull team to the Fintech Center at the University of South Florida. 

“Once we visited St. Pete, we were blown away. We were looking for a location that had a strong local fintech presence and that could attract additional talent because we think in-person connections continue to be important for innovation. St. Petersburg’s workforce and appealing quality of life made it an obvious choice,” Webull’s director of special projects Carlos Questell, who headed the firm’s office search, said in a prepared statement. 

Lu added that Webull execs were sold by the city’s robust business community and appeal to the next-generation workforce.

“People who live here want to stay and people outside the area want to move here. Beyond that, the level of community connection here provided by the St. Pete EDC proved to be the deciding factor – we were able to meet with peer businesses, potential partners and the city, and were so impressed with the business community’s leadership,” Lu stated. 

Today, the Carillon building houses employees of Webull’s pay and technologies divisions. Catalina is currently leasing space inside the building. 

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