A Pasco County office building built, in part, with money from a local sales tax program is set to open next week.
The 60,000-square-foot building, 54 Crossings, is the first of two that developer Rizzetta Real Estate is putting up on the property off State Road 54 just east of the Suncoast Parkway.
The building is opening with two tenants already on board and discussions underway with a third. The tenants are Universal Background Screening, which has leased 13,362 square feet in the three-story building and Wells Fargo has taken 5,000 square feet on the first floor. Rizzetta is currently is negotiating with law firm for the second floor.
That the building is opening and could soon be fully, or nearly fully, occupied is a win for county officials who used public money as part of a program that included using Penny for Pasco sales tax money to encourage development to prepare the area for future growth.
Pasco County commissioners created a forgivable loan program utilizing Penny for Pasco funds to help developers willing to build industrial and Class A office space on spec offset their costs. In all, at least five spec projects have been built or are near completion totaling about 1.48 million square feet of space.
54 Crossing is one of them.
According to the county, Rizzetta, which spent $15 million on the building and is expected to spend $15 million on the second one, was able to get a $1.5 million loan using Penny for Pasco funds. The county also agreed to rebate $1.435 million in property taxes.
Voters have approved the Penny for Pasco program three times since it was first on the ballot in 2004. In the most recent election in November, 65% of voters approved the measure for an additional 15 years.
The sales tax raises money for schools, cities and county government. When the current 15-year term ends in 2035, more than $1.9 billion will have entered into county coffers over nearly three decades.
Of the money earmarked for county government, 20% goes to economic incentives.