Pasco offers loan to boost office development

Encouraging construction of upscale office and industrial space is a high priority for Pasco County officials who want to diversify the county’s economic growth.

A 10-year, $7 million loan to HP Asturia is aimed at adding up to 200,000 square feet of what is known as Class A office buildings to the mixed-use, master-planned community of Asturia.

The development is off State Road 54 in Odessa, about 1.5 miles west of Suncoast Parkway.

Pasco County commissioners approved the loan at their July 11 meeting in Dade City. Tampa-based Harrod Properties Inc., will be development partner on the project.

If certain goals are met in signing tenants and delivering jobs, the loan could be forgiven in its entirety — which, in essence, would make it a grant instead of a loan.

Private capital investment in the project is estimated at about $26 million.

The loan will aid in design and construction of a northern spine road connecting to Tower Road from State Road 54. Funding is available through the Penny for Pasco program.

“We’re going to have some true Class A office space up here in Pasco County, which we’ve been patiently waiting for for the last couple of years,” said Pasco County Commission Chairman Mike Moore.

Up to 400 new jobs are anticipated. Total salaries from the project are estimated at about $11 million, and the county could add about $32 million to its gross domestic product annually.

The 200,000 square feet of office and industrial space would be built in phases, and on speculation, without pre-signed tenants.

The loan will be forgiven in phases, including $4 million when the roadwork is complete and a minimum of 80,000 square feet of industrial/office space is built. That will be followed with $1 million on proof of 5-year leases for the first 80,000 square feet. The final $2 million would be forgiven at build-out, with additional leases, for the total 200,000 square feet.

Harrod Properties has a track record in other counties, including the Brooker Creek Corp. Center in Oldsmar, Feld Entertainment headquarters in Ellenton, and Cypress Bay Corporate Centers I and II in the Westshore district in Tampa.

“For probably seven years, we’ve been trying to find opportunities up here,” said Graham Mavar, partner in leasing and development with Harrod Properties. “Somebody always has to go first. That’s always a challenge.”

The loan from Pasco is critical, he added.

“Without having assistance with the road and being able to help lower costs, no way we could deliver the product we need to do in order for tenants to be able to afford it,” said Mavar. “The rent jump would be too much.”

Mavar said construction of about 100,000 square feet of the project likely would begin by the end of the year.

Published July 19, 2017

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