By B.C. Manion
T. Rowe Price is still high on Pasco County and plans to create a corporate campus here – just not any time soon.
The global investment management firm will relocate its Tampa operations into central Pasco “as the economic factors that drive growth warrant,” said Mark Ruhe, a vice president for the company, based in Baltimore.
Ruhe’s remarks on the company’s plans came last week during a meeting of the Pasco Alliance of Community Associations in Land O’ Lakes.
The company’s 72-acre site at the southwest corner of SR 54 and the planned extension of Sunlake Boulevard is expected to become the new home for the firm’s Tampa operations, which have about 400 employees in Tampa’s Westshore business district.
The site will accommodate as many as 1,200 additional workers, Ruhe said.
When that relocation and hiring will occur remains uncertain, Ruhe said.
While the timetable remains indefinite, company officials have a clear vision of what the new corporate campus will include.
The office buildings will be designed with the environment in mind and with the intention of allowing easy collaboration among employees.
The buildings will have well-lit interiors, on-site training facilities, an employee cafeteria and possibly a health club.
Parking will be in a structure that is just a short walk from employees’ desks, Ruhe said. The building also will meet stringent environmental engineering standards, he said.
He also pictures green spaces on the property, where employees can take a break and relax.
Green building is a high priority for the kinds of employees the company attracts, said John Townsend, a vice president who oversees the firm’s Tampa operations.
When the new campus opens in Pasco, it will serve as a regional campus for the international firm.
The firm has been enthusiastic about the Tampa Bay region for nearly two decades and is pleased it can remain in the market, the company officials said. The area has a rich pool of talent and a great quality of life, Ruhe said.
Townsend said the company has done some research and has found that a large percentage of its employees already live near the firm’s Pasco site.
It’s hard to predict whether employees will want to move into Pasco when the office shift occurs, Townsend said, in response to a question from the audience.
T. Rowe Price sees significant growth potential in Pasco County, Ruhe said.
Once the firm moves to its Pasco location, he said, “we plan on having a presence here for a long, long time.”
Townsend said the firm is already engaged in a number of initiatives with the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida. He expects it will branch out to educational institutions in Pasco in the future.
“We rely very extensively on relationships with colleges and universities,” Townsend said.
Officials at Rasmussen College, a new private college across the road from the T. Rowe Price site, have said one reason they chose their site is because of its proximity to T. Rowe Price. They have expressed a high degree of interest in working with the investment firm to ensure its graduates are ready to move into the work force. Saint Leo University and Pasco-Hernando Community College are likely to be interested, too.