The Pasco County Commission on Jan. 26 approved a $25 million incentive that will bring an expansion of the Moffitt Cancer Center to the county.
The 775-acre site will be east of the Suncoast Parkway at the Ridge Road Extension, which currently is under construction. The $25 million will support the construction of public and private segments of the road needed for the first phase of development on the site, which is expected to take five years.
Bill Cronin, president and chief executive of the Pasco County Economic Development Council, said the development could create at least 14,000 jobs in the region and put Pasco County on the national and world map as a major site for cancer treatment and research.
“It is a great day in Pasco. This is a very important project,” Cronin said. “This project truly is a game-changer.”
To get the incentive, Moffitt will build 128,000 square feet for a corporate business park in the first five years, and eventually “the multiyear, multiphase project will include over 1.4 million square feet of research lab/office, light industrial/manufacturing, general office, and clinical building space,” the EDC said in a press release.
Cronin noted, “We worked with Moffitt Cancer Center to determine what their actual needs would be for this project. We wanted to make sure that whatever we were prescribing to make this project a success, it was something that they actually could use and need.”
They needed help with the infrastructure getting to the site, Cronin said. The county’s road plans looked very similar to what Moffitt wanted. They’ve also talked with Moffitt about the center doing the permitting and construction of the road, and making sure they coordinate with the county.
The county has to complete some projects to hold up its end of the deal, Cronin said.
It must complete the Ridge Road Extension from the Suncoast Parkway, the completion of Ridge Road to Sunlake Boulevard, the completion of two lanes from Sunlake Boulevard to State Road 52, and the completion and execution of a fund disbursement agreement.
The county also will appoint a designated liaison to work with Moffitt through each of the steps, he said, a rapid response team and expedited permitting for the project.
“This campus will be a life sciences destination for the world,” said Moffitt general counsel David de la Parte. He added that while the current pandemic has taken many lives, cancer claims twice as many, and nearly everyone has a family member, relative or friend who has suffered from cancer.
County commissioners were effusive in their praise for Moffitt at the Jan. 26 meeting.
Commissioner Mike Moore, District 2, said this project would be transformational for Pasco, the state and the region.
“The work that you’re going to be doing in Pasco County will save lives,” he said.
Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, District 3, said, “I am also excited about you choosing Pasco County.” She said family members of her have used Moffitt for cancer treatment.
“This is magnificent for the Tampa Bay area, and Florida as well,” Starkey said. “All of us are here to help you be successful. We look forward to you opening your doors soon.”
“This is what makes us a superior county,” said chairman Ron Oakley, District 1. “We certainly look forward to you being there. We support you all the way.”
A motion to approve passed 5-0, as did a motion to approve the financing of the Sun Lake Boulevard Extension.