Reaping Rewards

When a corporation moving into a new market contributes to that locale’s “image,” it can create value that boomerangs back to the company. The Tampa region, which has been working hard to attract life sciences and biotechnology firms, scored a coup with pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., which teamed with the city’s H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute to develop cancer research project M2Gen last year. “We look for organizations that will grow jobs and the industry,” said Stuart Rogel, president & CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership. M2Gen committed to establishing 165 jobs at an average yearly salary of $80,000. The public financing package included $20 million in cash and $8 million in land from Hillsborough County, $15.5 million from the state of Florida and $2 million in grant funding and land from the city of Tampa, according to Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co., which served as a financial advisor to Moffitt.Other corporations that have settled down in the Tampa area, including SRI International, have driven additional life sciences expansion. “We’ve seen an increase in patents, venture capital and research,” Rogel said, noting that the growth has cemented not only Tampa but also Central Florida as a worldwide biotechnology competitor. In turn, that has created demand for a talent pool. The city is now working on resolving a housing shortage, hoping to build a live-work-play community to attract the needed workforce. For more on how corporations are benefiting today from partnering with municipalities, see CPN’s April 16 issue or search for “Power or Two” in quotation marks.