Bauducco Foods has purchased 72.5 acres of the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport’s Ready Site and expects to hire more than 600 employees within the coming decade.
The news was announced during the Oct. 24 meeting of the Pasco County Commission, which approved an incentives package to help lure the company to the county.
The effort to attract the Brazilian-based company to North Tampa Bay was one that was about 10 months in the making, and involved Pasco County’s economic growth department, the Pasco Economic Development Council, the City of Zephyrhills and the state of Florida, among others.
The company expects to invest more than $200 million in the new facility, which will produce and distribute its baked items across the United States, according to a Pasco County Economic Development Council news release.
“The company manufactures baked goods including biscuits, wafers and breads, and is the largest producer of panettones in the world, and the market leader in the U.S.,” the Pasco EDC release says.
“The Bauducco brand is sold in all 50 states in regional supermarket chains, national grocery stores, pharmacies and more,” the release adds.
Zephyrhills will become the company’s main production hub for the U.S. market, according to the release.
Stefano Mozzi, CEO of Bauducco USA, appeared at the county board’s meeting to celebrate the company’s decision to locate in Pasco.
To express its pleasure, the company passed out baked goods to all those attending the county board’s meeting.
A baking company for generations
Mozzi shared the company’s story with the county board and others gathered for the big announcement.
“We are a family owned business. We are in the third generation. It’s an Italian family that moved to Brazil in the ’50s and they started with a small bakery. Today, we are one of the largest bakery companies in Latin America.
“The company has five manufacturing plants in Brazil, with a capacity to produce more than 400,000 tons of baked goods annually with over 8,000 employees worldwide,” according to Pasco EDC’s release
Mozzi told the Pasco County board: “The family always had a dream that was to develop the business in the U.S. They started with a small office in Miami, in 2005. A couple of years back, we built our first facility in Miami.
“It was only a warehouse. It also became a factory. Today, we have over 130 employees there. “But we need to expand,” he said.
The company chose Pasco after a detailed analysis involving more than seven states and 10 counties, according to the Pasco EDC release.
Collaboration yields big jobs win for area
The company’s decision to come to Pasco County is the result of a coordinated effort between Pasco County, the Pasco Economic Development Council, the City of Zephyrhills and Florida Commerce.
Mozzi said Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Co. and the gas company also were involved in the effort.
The collaboration between the different entities, the company executive said, “made our life easy, in terms of selecting where to go.”
Bauducco is ready to get going as soon as it can obtain permits, Mozzi said. It has already hired architects and hopes contractors can start building as quickly as possible.
“We are very excited,” Mozzi told the board.
David Engel, Pasco’s economic growth manager, spelled out some of the specifics of the county’s deal.
The 72.5-acre site where the plant will be located is at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Chancey Road, which was recently annexed by the City of Zephyrhills. The project will be using city water and sewer.
When complete, the project will be about 403,000 square feet and will create 600 new Pasco jobs, Engel said.
The project will be done in two phases, he said.
The first phase will be 96,494 square feet and is expected to be completed in 2025-2026, Engel said.
Phase two will be 306,500 square feet and is expected to be completed around 2028-2029.
The county’s incentive in the agreement involves a 25% ad valorem equivalency grant — which is a rebate on their ad valorem tax payment to the general fund.
The property currently is vacant, so the project’s development represents “a tremendous gain into the general fund for tax revenue,” Engel said.
He also noted that the incentives are entirely performance-based, meaning no incentives will be paid until the company has completed phase one and has received a certificate of occupancy.
“No incentives will be paid on the second phase until there’s a CO (certificate of occupancy) on that property and taxes are commencing,” Engel added.
Training dollars are part of deal
Additionally, the county is providing a $100,000 discretionary training grant to the business out of tax revenues generated by Penny for Pasco, Engel said.
The company will be able to receive that money once it has received its shell certificate of completion for phase one. That will enable them to train and hire before receiving a certificate of occupancy for the buildings, Engel said.
Bill Cronin, president and CEO of the Pasco EDC, characterized the project as “probably one of the more exciting projects that we’ve had in quite a while.”
He said the Pasco EDC “worked together with the state of Florida and Enterprise Florida’s international offices. We worked together with the municipality of Zephyrhills, and of course, with our county and our county staff.
Cronin described the project as competitive, noting that Pasco competed with San Antonio, Texas, for the company.
“Usually we don’t mention our competitors, but in this case, I want you to know, this was truly a project where people came together, collaborated, worked together, not just on the incentive deals, but some of the nuances we have here in Florida.”
Laura DiBella, immediate past Florida Secretary of Commerce and president and CEO at Enterprise Florida, told the county board there was “heated competition from Texas.”
She said Bauducco’s footprint in Miami could no longer support what it needed to do.
“The state obviously is participating on the incentive side, as well,” she said.
She said the “wrap-around approach” involves working together with partners “to make sure that this project not only lands, but continues to succeed here.
“This is really, really a happy day for all of us,” she said.
Zephyrhills is delighted by Bauducco’s choice
Billy Poe, city manager for the City of Zephyrhills, said the city is appreciative of the partnership with the county board, the Pasco EDC and the state.
“We’re thrilled that Bauducco selected Zephyrhills and our growing landscape of business potential. The positive impact of these job openings goes beyond providing steady, high-wage employment. It strengthens the fabric of our community by fostering opportunities and prosperity.
He said the city already is known for its water, skydiving and tennis, and now, with Bauducco, will be known for its baked goods, too.
The City of Zephyrhills has approved incentives totaling $8.27 million, according to the Pasco EDC news release. That incentive is based on the company creating 120 new positions, with each having an average wage of 80% of the median one-person income in the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Area.
The city’s incentive package also includes waiving transportation impact fees up to $331,000 and permit fees up to $660,750. Plus, the city will provide a job creation incentive cash grant equal to 50% of the ad valorem city property taxes paid for the first 10 years, according to the Pasco EDC release.
Mozzi said he hopes his company’s investment in Zephyrhills will be the first of many to come.
“I think it will happen. Normally, when one company goes to a place, a lot of others follow later on,” he said.
Published November 08, 2023