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Business Observer Tuesday, Jun. 25, 2019 6 months ago

Restaurant chain announces construction of new headquarters

The new First Watch Restaurants headquarters will have a test kitchen for the chain's culinary team.

MANATEE COUNTY — Breakfast, brunch and lunch chain First Watch Restaurants announced plans to expand its corporate infrastructure in Manatee County by building a new 39,000-square-foot headquarters in the University Town Center area.

The new facility will be designed to accommodate the company’s continued aggressive growth plans, according to a press release. It will be near the company’s current headquarters just north of Cooper Creek Boulevard. It is expected to open in late 2020.

The new two-story building being developed by Benderson Development will overlook southbound Interstate 75, north of the University Parkway exit. It will have collaborative work spaces, private offices and conference rooms, a workout center with locker rooms, a test kitchen for the chain's culinary team, classroom facilities for the company’s management academy, and indoor and outdoor dining.

“For more than three decades, First Watch has called the Suncoast our home," says First Watch CEO Chris Tomasso in a statement. "We’ve grown up here, our team members are raising their families here, and we couldn’t be more excited about our decision to remain and continue growing alongside this incredible community."

The expansion of the company’s headquarters is expected to create a minimum of 85 new jobs, with an expected average salary of nearly $82,000, according to a press release. The Manatee County Board of County Commissioners has approved a performance-based economic development incentive package for the project, which includes up to $255,000 for job creation during the next five years and a multimodal transportation impact fee incentive estimated to be $135,240, a statement says. 

In 2017, First Watch received a majority investment from private equity investor Advent International.

First Watch has operated out of Manatee and Sarasota counties since the organization moved to Florida in 1986. The company now has nine restaurants in Manatee and Sarasota counties among its 378 restaurants nationally.

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