Pinellas by Design
Pinellas by Design

Redevelopment and Business Incentives

Technology at work
A major goal of the Pinellas by Design initiative is to expand the number of high wage primary jobs within the county. In order to retain and attract the employers that provide these jobs, one effective technique is to provide a variety of redevelopment and business incentives. Because high wage primary employers contribute a significant amount of wealth to their local economies, these incentives are investments that produce considerable returns for the community.

While it is true that Pinellas County is a desirable business location, high wage employers often need large tracts of land on which to build or expand. In our built-out environment, most of this real estate can only be created through redevelopment. Since redevelopment is more expensive than greenfield development, it is often necessary to provide regulatory and financial incentives to help offset these costs.

But will every redevelopment, or every activity calling itself redevelopment, receive incentives? No, they will not. A new corner drug store would not qualify for incentives because that business does not meet the definition of a primary employer, i.e., one that imports money to the community by doing the majority of its business outside the area. The idea that "any new job will help the economy" does not hold true because a disproportionate number of low-paying, nonskilled jobs can actually cause the economy to decline in quality.

Another issue, especially in a county such as ours that has many local governments, is equitable distribution-not in the sense that every jurisdiction will get the same amount of incentives to distribute, but in the sense that they will grant them using the same set of criteria. It is necessary to ensure that bidding wars for redevelopment projects do not break out among neighboring communities. One way to deal with this issue is to make the incentives job-based, not land-based. In other words, it is the employers that demonstrate the quality of the jobs that will be eligible for the incentives, which will be granted no matter where in the county they choose to locate.

In order to accomplish this, Pinellas County has developed an incentives matrix that will be used to determine which employers will receive various incentives. By agreeing on the need for incentives and the criteria for granting them, the county has at its disposal a toolkit that will help fulfill the goals of the Economic Development and Redevelopment Plan for the Pinellas Community.

Catalina Marketing

To return to Redevelopment Topics, click here.