Last week, I had the pleasure of rekindling a year long relationship with three Hillsborough County employees serious about economic development. We began our relationship with a driving tour of eastern Hillsborough County and the industrial area north of the Airport. These are two of the neighborhoods where the County wants to encourage new growth by using incentives. We met again throughout the year and spoke with their consultants. They listened!

Given my 30 years in the industrial/commercial brokerage and development sectors, I have extensive experience in both markets, and have developed projects in both neighborhoods. Plus, I also have current listings for sale in these neighborhoods. In short, I can add to the conversation about what the barriers to development and commercial real estate are today.

This time, I think they- Hillsborough County- have gotten it right. While the proof is in the pudding, I do see a workable framework to get projects off the ground. The first “incentive” is expedited permitting for places for business for rent. If you have attempted to get a permit in the last year, you know that the wait is excruciating and can kill transactions. With expedited permitting, you ought to be able to get a site and building permit within 30 days. (Keep in mind there are some forms to fill out first!)

There are also incentives for permit fees, impact fees, infrastructure improvements (that include extending utilities, demolishing structures, adding fill, providing sidewalks), and environmental Phase II studies. For certain projects, especially those over 50,000 SF property rentals, these incentives might actually save some serious money. Incentives can be “stacked”, meaning your project might receive more than one incentive, provided your capital improvements (not land) are some multiple (5x) of what the incentives are. For example, in order to be credited with $100,000 worth of incentives, your project needs to total at least $500,000, again net of the land purchase.

I encourage you to contact the County, and ask for the Competitive Sites Manager. Or, free to call me as well. I would be happy to use my 30 years of experience in commercial properties to help you answer some questions.