Encompass Health plans move to Land O’ Lakes

Encompass Health Corporation has announced plans to bring 179 jobs to Central Pasco.

The company, based in Birmingham, plans to build a 37,000-square-foot facility on about 6 acres in the Bexley Community, off State Road 54, in Land O’ Lakes.

It plans to locate its Central Business Office there, to provide medical billing and collection services to the company’s hospitals in 25 states and Puerto Rico, according to a company statement.

This rendering depicts the planned office for Encompass Health Corporation, which plans to bring 179 jobs to Pasco County. (Courtesy of Pasco Economic Development Council Inc.)

News of the company’s plans was announced at the Pasco County Commission’s Dec. 10 meeting, where the board voted on an incentive package aimed at attracting the company, a publicly traded company, whose shares are sold on the New York Stock Exchange.

David Engel, Pasco County’s economic growth manager, told commissioners that the building will be single-story, with an architectural façade that’s consistent with the design standards for the Bexley master-planned community, Engel said.

“It’s a one-story administrative office building. It’s quite a substantial project. There’s over $15 million in capital investment; 220 direct and indirect jobs; 179 will be working at this facility, at a minimum,” Engel said.

The capital investment includes acquisition of the land, according to county documents.

Engel said the project “contributes more than $10 million a year to the gross county product,” which amounts to a return on investment of more than 10 to 1.

Commissioners approved a $983,000 incentive package to attract the company.

Various features of that package are:

  • A job creation incentive for 117 of the administrative jobs (amounting to $234,000)
  • The mobility fee waiver for Class A office construction (estimated at $329,000)
  • A 10-year ad valorem reimbursement (estimated at $290,000); the first five years will be 50% of their ad valorem payment; and 25% for the back end
  • An employee training grant ($50,000)
  • A waiver of building county permit fees (maximum of $80,000)

Also, because the company falls within the definition of a qualified targeted industry, the county is offering “rapid response team and expedited permitting,” Engel said.

Besides saving time, the expedited process is “a large financial incentive to the applicant,” Engel said.

Bill Cronin, CEO and president of the Pasco Economic Development Council Inc., said ”We’re really excited about this company coming in, right into Central Pasco, creating some wonderful jobs.”

The Pasco EDC executive also noted that this project indicates that master-planned communities, such as Bexley, are started to develop their employment entitlements, thus rounding out the developments.

“Now, this development has true live, work, play at their development. You’ve got residential. You’ve got jobs. You’ve got retail. That means less people, potentially, on the road,” Cronin said.

Diane Daerr, director of Encompass Heath’s Central Business Office, said “we’re really excited about our new operation. The new building will allow us to have a lot of amenities for our workforce. Fitness center. Walking trails.

“We really like the setting of Bexley, and the walking trails and bike trails in that general area.

“You can literally live across the street from where our building is going to be, so we’re very excited about that,”” Daerr said.

Pasco officials have been working to shed the county’s image as a bedroom community, where thousands commute daily to jobs in other places.

“I think there’s something to be said about having a publicly traded company choosing Pasco for location for this regional operation. They will be serving 25 states here, and Puerto Rico. So, this is a real regional footprint for them. And, these jobs are good jobs,” Cronin said.

“As you all know, we’ve been focusing on our life sciences cluster,” he said.

In fact, Moffitt Cancer Center is seeking to boost its share of the state’s annual cigarette tax money to support expanded cancer care and research, both in Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

If the proposal moves forward, the new location in Pasco County would be near the Suncoast Parkway and State Road 52. It is being viewed by local leaders as having the potential to be a catalyst that would transform the Central Pasco landscape.

Cronin said that attracting new companies to Pasco, such as Encompass Health, talent being developed in the life sciences industry will have a place to call home, Cronin added.

Cronin also emphasized the project’s strategic location, near State Road 54 and the Suncoast Parkway, with easy access to Tampa International Airport.

Pasco County Commission Chairman Mike Moore applauded the company’s decision to locate in Pasco, which he describe as “the fastest growing county in the region, if not the fastest growing in the state and one of the fastest growing in the nation.”

Published December 18, 2019

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