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Lockheed Martin, Innovation Center seek county funds

Veronica Brezina

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A rendering of Tampa Bay Innovation Center at 4th Street South and 11th Avenue South.

Nine companies and developers are seeking Pinellas County funds to help them fill in the financial gap to complete projects that will create over 1,000 local jobs.

The nine new applications submitted to the county for the Penny for Pinellas’ Employment Sites Program range from manufacturing giants such as Lockheed Martin to developers building speculative industrial warehouses.

The ESP was created to assist in the construction and redevelopment of industrial (manufacturing and flex) and office buildings that attract target industry employers to Pinellas County.

The new applications will be reviewed Thursday by the Pinellas County Commission.

This is the third round of receiving and reviewing ESP applications. To date, the county has committed roughly $6.55 million in total to the previous projects in the first and second rounds. 

The following projects submitted in the third round that will be reviewed: 

Lockheed Martin’s Oldsmar facility. Image: Pinellas County documents.

Company/project: Lockheed Martin Corporation

Project cost: Roughly $6 million

Funding sought: Lockheed Martin is requesting $906,000 in assistance through the ESP program to fund some of the stormwater improvements.

Project details: Manufacturer Lockheed Martin, the largest employer in North Pinellas, intends to expand its existing facility in Oldsmar by adding a new building. The new building will be a 45,000-square-foot structure associated with the recent buildout of the former warehouse space into manufacturing space. Additional electronic assembly requirements were relocated from Massachusetts to this existing facility. The additional programs include critical Navy requirements for heavy weight torpedo electronics, unmanned submarine training targets and submarine towed array electronics.

Jobs it will create: In the new manufacturing line, it will bring 90 jobs. The existing site is approximately 225,000 square feet with a current headcount of 630 employees. 

A rendering of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center at 4th Street South and 11th Avenue South. All renderings provided.

Company/project: Tampa Bay Innovation Center/Pinellas County

Project cost: Roughly $16.29 million

Funding sought: The county and TBIC are requesting $4 million in assistance through the ESP program to offset the escalation in design and construction costs. As part of the originally approved project in 2019, it was known that the county would need to match some portion of the construction cost in order to receive the federal EDA grant.

Project details: The TBIC is a project spearheaded by Pinellas County after being awarded a Federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to construct a business incubator in the county. The 45,000-square-foot structure is currently under construction on donated city land at the southwest corner of 4th Street South and 11th Avenue. The building will consist of two floors above parking and cafe space on the ground floor.  

Jobs it will create: The exact number of jobs the project will create was not provided, as it will serve as an incubator. The application did state the “incubator will enhance and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing affordable and quality office space for product development for growing businesses in the region.”    

Site plan for 8th Ave. SE Industrial’s spec buildings in Largo. Image: Pinellas County documents.

Company/project: 8th Ave. SE Industrial LLC

Project cost: Roughly $35.44 million 

Funding sought: The entity is requesting $950,000 in assistance through the ESP program to fund the extra remediation expense required for the site. “This added cost will make speculative development financially unfeasible given the market’s current rental rates. The developer will either need to hold the site for a build-to-suit tenant (full building users) or wait until market factors allow for speculative development,” according to the application.  

Project details: The 8th Ave. SE Industrial LLC, which is tied to Pinellas County-based Belleair Development and Ft. Lauderdale-based BBX Development, will be constructing two new speculative flex manufacturing buildings in Largo. The 15.4-acre site on 8th Avenue SE and Donegan Road will house a 101,000-square-foot building and a 96,300-square-foot building.  

Jobs it will create: The developer says this project will attract manufacturers and hi-tech companies, and a project of this size can bring 250 to 300 new jobs to the community with an average salary of $60,000.

A rendering of the Harrod—Starkey Lakes project. Image: Pinellas County documents.

Company/project: Harrod—Starkey Lakes

Project cost: $22.4 million 

Funding sought: Harrod – Starkey Lakes is requesting $2.8 million from ESP to cover the costs associated with upgrades to the stormwater that will include a vault system and fill dirt. 

Project details: Harrod Properties will be demolishing an outdated office building to upgrade the other office building to the south and provide amenities and upgrades to better attract tenants at the 71-acre Starkey Lakes Corporate Center in Largo. A new 160,000-square-foot industrial building will be built to the west of the office building. The new building can accommodate up to five businesses. 

Jobs it will create: The developer projects that this project will accommodate 300 direct jobs and 500 ancillary spinoff jobs. They estimate that the 300 direct jobs will have an average salary of $60,000 and the ancillary jobs will have an average salary of approximately $35,000.

Other companies that submitted ESP applications:

  • Wendover Art Group: Wendover Art Group, a manufacturer of wall decor for interior designers, intends to expand its existing 130,000-square-foot building by an additional 69,006 square feet. The new construction at 6465 126th Ave. in Largo will allow the business to expand the print room and add a signage division. Wendover, which currently has over 330 employees, will add 250 new jobs and will be poised to double its revenue over the next five years. The company is requesting roughly $1.95 million for the $11.41 million project. 
  • Agora Edge: Agora Edge will expand its campus with a new building for light manufacturing with office, warehousing and shipping. The new facility at 20th Ave. N. in St. Petersburg will be 47,900 square feet with the ability to grow an additional 31,500 square feet. This new manufacturing facility will add over 50 manufacturing jobs once the first phase is complete. Since the site is prepped for an additional 31,500 square feet of production, an additional 150 manufacturing jobs would be created following the expansion. The company, which manufactures custom soft goods, is requesting roughly $1.72 million for the $11.57 million project. 

The full list of the groups seeking funding for projects can be found here. 

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