Economic growth in Pasco County is synonymous with the Wesley Chapel area. And, as more economic opportunities come to the area, such as the under-construction Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel (FHWC), the Tampa Prime Outlets at Cypress Creek Town Center and the Porter Campus of Pasco-Hernando Community College (PHCC), thousands of jobs and tax dollars are making their way into our area, as well.

Pasco County administrator John Gallagher is among many local officials excited about the influx of local jobs.

As previously reported in the New Tampa Neighborhood News, Simon Property Group has announced plans to open an outlet mall similar to the Ellenton Prime Outlets, with a Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th outlet store as one of its staples. But, that won’t be the only store bringing jobs to the area.

Gallagher says that once the mall opens, which is currently expected to be sometime in 2014, it will bring more than 6,100 jobs to the Wesley Chapel/Lutz/Land O’Lakes/New Tampa area, which will ignite the local economy north and south of the Hillsborough-Pasco county line.

“If their estimates are true, it will bring a lot of jobs to (Wesley Chapel),” Gallagher says. “It will offer a lot of opportunities for young people in the area and definitely lower the (county’s) unemployment rate.”

Gallagher says that a staff member of his spoke with representatives from Simon recently who said that they would be submitting their plans for the development in the next 60-90 days.

And, not only will the outlet mall bring employment to thousands, he says, it also will bring more than $24 million in estimated sales and property taxes to the local economy.

The Pasco County School Board, which has been the victim of intense budget cuts for the past five years, also will benefit from the mall, which will generate an estimated $1.5 million for the District. This influx of money should help to offset future cuts, similar to the more than $25 million that has been stripped from the District’s budget for the upcoming school year.

Not far from the planned outlet mall, progress continues on the Porter Campus of PHCC, an addition to Wesley Chapel that District 2 Pasco County commissioner Pat Mulieri, Ed. because of its proximity to the other economic opportunities in the Wiregrass Ranch/ Wesley Chapel area. Not only will the campus provide employment opportunities for faculty and staff once it’s completed, it will also open doors to careers for those who attend the school.

“The students can find work at the mall,” Mulieri explains. “At the same time, employees at the mall can go to school at PHCC to upgrade their work skills. One program that will be offered (at the school) is nursing. The graduates of that program can then work at the hospital. It’s a circle.”

The soon-to-be-completed 200,000 sq.-ft., 80-bed FHWC, located just north of the Shops at Wiregrass mall on BBD, has been posting batches of jobs online the past few weeks.

Executive director of the FHWC Foundation Connie Bladon says that the new medical center will provide more than 400 jobs to the local economy. “There are so many that need to be filled,” she says. “We’re really just starting to hire.”

Bladon says that most of the jobs that the hospital will bring to the community will be filled locally, so that people can work where they live and not have to endure a long commute. A small number of jobs may be transfers from other Florida Hospital facilities in the area, but Bladon says most positions, including doctors, nurses, clinical and accounting positions will be filled by residents of the local community.

FHWC’s adjacent 100,000-sq.-ft. medical office building/wellness center also will have jobs that need to be filled.

Financial services giant Raymond James was offered a $10-million incentive package by the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners to open a campus in Wesley Chapel (reportedly on S.R. 56, east of the mall) in October 2011 that could potentially bring 750 jobs to our area by 2024, 100 of which could be offered locally as soon as 2014.

T. Rowe Price, another large financial investment firm, also has taken has notice of the Wesley Chapel area and shown interest in opening offices in what could become the new urban center of Pasco County.

For career opportunities at FHWC, please click the “Careers” link at — MW

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