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$1.6B cancer center under development wraps a heart around hope

When complete, Moffitt Cancer Center's 775-acre Pasco County campus will include 140 buildings, all designed in some way to fight cancer.

  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 5:00 a.m. December 24, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Moffitt Cancer Center's 775-acre Pasco County campus, when complete, will include 140 buildings and employ 14,000.
Moffitt Cancer Center's 775-acre Pasco County campus, when complete, will include 140 buildings and employ 14,000.
Image courtesy of Moffitt Cancer Center
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You never want to be flippant when talking about world class cancer treatment. But when you think about the construction of Moffitt Cancer Center’s new Speros FL campus in Pasco County, it is hard not to think about how big it is going to be before you think of the impact it is going to have.

Granted, that is partly because it is still a construction site.

Work began on the 775-acre project Jan. 20 with a ceremonial groundbreaking and is progressing at a steady pace, with the planned completion of the first phase in 2028. Some of the components will be finished earlier, as soon as 2026 and 2027, and Moffitt says the first patients will be seen in 2025.

The first proton therapy will be offered on the Speros Fl campus in 2027.

The full project, which Moffitt has said could take as long as 30 years to complete, will include 140 buildings and have 14,000 employees. Six miles of new roads will be built to connect the campus.

As for what is in the works now, the first phase includes the construction of several facilities totaling 650,000 square feet. Of that, 300,000 square feet will be dedicated to research space.

The cost for Phase 1A is $1.6 billion. Of that, Moffitt, the state of Florida and Pasco County are investing a combined $600 million. The remaining $1 billion will come from private sector investments.

Of the $600 million, Moffitt says $200 million will be for research, $80 million for clinical, $70 million for proton therapy and $100 million for infrastructure.

The property is off of Ridge Road in Land O’Lakes and while it's 775 acres, the plan is for 35% of that, about 225 acres, to be preserved for conservation, say Moffitt officials. 

To give you an idea of how big it is going to be since it will take so long to build, Moffitt says Speros is going to be larger than the entire downtown Tampa Bay market (521 acres); larger than Disneyland, California (500 acres); and about half the size of the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus (1,562 acres).

In fact, Moffitt says, Speros is going to be nearly as large as the Walt Disney World theme parks, which total 1,096 total acres: Magic Kingdom (142 acres), Disney’s Hollywood Studios (154 acres), Epcot (300 acres) and Animal Kingdom (500 acres).

Impressive as all that may be, the real impact of Speros will be its ability to treat cancer patients and develop new therapies.

Dr. Patrick Hwu, Moffitt’s president, CEO and a practicing doctor, has said his goal is nothing short of preventing, treating and, some day, eradicating all forms of cancer.

Speros will go a long way toward that and Hwu says “Our vision is to be the global epicenter for personalized oncology care and leading research that will revolutionize the way we prevent, find and treat cancer.”

That vision fits the name of the project, too. Turns out Speros is from the Latin word Sperare. Which means hope or to look forward to. 



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the deputy managing editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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