In the last six months, two of St. Pete’s Fortune 500 companies, Jabil (NYSE: JBL) and Raymond James (NYSE: RFJ), announced major expansion plans for their current headquarter sites in St. Petersburg, Florida.
In February 2018, Jabil, electronics manufacturer of everything from iPhone circuit boards to Philadelphia cream cheese tubs, announced that it will rebuild the site of its existing headquarters in the Gateway area. Jabil executives who considered locations from Florida to Singapore, see the rebuilding as the most cost-effective and desirable option for its employees.
“Jabil’s home in St. Petersburg will continue to be a global connector for the company’s 180,000 employees in 100 facilities, worldwide,” Jabil’s CEO Mark Mondello said in a previous interview.
Almost simultaneously, Raymond James, a financial services provider that’s already the largest private employer in St. Petersburg, announced plans to add 650 jobs in three newly acquired buildings in the Gateway area.
Executive Chairman of Raymond James, Tom James, and his wife Mary, celebrated the opening of his highly anticipated legacy project, The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art in April 2018. The project, situated in the heart of downtown, invests more than $75 million in the community.
Jabil and Raymond James’ commitment to the Sunshine City signal a larger trend of the increasing popularity of the City’s business-friendly climate.
Affordability In 2017, more than 3,000 jobs were created in St. Petersburg, as more growing companies are flocking to the City’s business-friendly environment. Companies paying premiums in markets like New York and San Francisco are drawn to St. Petersburg’s attractive tax structure and real estate opportunities. The City’s cost of living is also below the national average, making it one of the most affordable mid-sized cities to live in the Southeast.
Talent Five institutions of higher learning are located within St. Pete’s city limits that fuel a young, skilled workforce and attract talent from around the nation. In addition to a readily available local workforce, companies like Triad Retail Media and SRI have found potential hires in other markets are easily sold on St. Pete.
Quality of Life St. Pete routinely ranks as one of the top places to live and work in the U.S. Recently, the City was named ‘Best Place to Live,’ by Southern Living and ‘Best 25 Towns in America,’ by Outside Magazine. St. Pete is characterized by 260 miles of waterfront property, a vibrant arts scene, lively downtown, and a booming foodie and craft brewery scene. The ‘Love where you live and work‘ mentality is shared by employees and employers alike in St. Pete.
Opportunity Startups and entrepreneurs alike are seeing the value St. Pete is a place where business leaders lay down roots for the long run. Named No. 2 on Forbes list of Top 10 Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs, St. Pete provides crucial resources that facilitate business growth. A supportive local government and accessible industry leaders forge opportunities for business leaders
Along with Jabil and Raymond James, the Tampa-St. Petersburg metro area is home to an additional three Fortune 500 companies: HSN, Tech Data, and WellCare Health Plans. The unique mix of emerging sectors like marine and life sciences, data analytics, financial services, and specialized manufacturing positions St. Petersburg as the epicenter of an economic boom. For large corporations and emerging startups alike, St. Pete checks all of the boxes for big city living, without suffering from congestion that leads residents of large cities to feel disengaged.