At the regular Board of County Commission (BOCC) meeting on January 24, 2023, Economic Development Director Valerie Pianta presented the latest updates from her department. The Office of Economic Development aims to bolster the local economy by recruiting, retaining, and expanding targeted industries. Such industries create jobs and foster investment in Hernando County.
The office of Economic Development consists of the economic development director, business retention manager, and marketing coordinator. Airport and tourism staff also work closely with the department.
The most significant part of Economic Development’s activities is business retention and expansion (49 percent). Other activities include business recruitment (24 percent), marketing and promotion (14 percent), community programs (6 percent), and entrepreneurship (4 percent). Three percent accounts for miscellaneous activities.
Pianta highlighted four recent projects that have been instrumental in creating jobs and bringing investment to Hernando County.
Barrette Outdoor Living
175,000 square feet
150 new jobs
$20+ million capital investment
Opening Q3 2023
Statewide Logistics Center
Recently purchased 143 acres
Preparing for over 2 million square feet of logistics, warehousing and potentially manufacturing
700,000 square feet
500+ new jobs
$75 million capital investment
Cabot Citrus Farms (Formerly World of Woods)
600-acre golf resort and planned development community
233,000 square feet (during Phase 1)
150 cottages and private lots
700 jobs at completion
100+ million capital investment
Hernando County’s Economic Development portfolio consists of 35 active projects (19 new, 16 expansion). With these projects, 2405 new jobs have been created, notably 25 at the Brooksville Tampa-Bay Regional Airport (BKV), six with Hernando County and four identified as “I-75.”
Two hundred ninety-five jobs have been retained. In addition, these projects boast 5.7 million square feet of operating space and 506 million in capital investment.
The Office of Economic Development hasn’t slowed down amidst all this success. Recent marketing activities include the generation of a quarterly newsletter called the Hernando Insider, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Orlando Trade Show, in-county events, and print and online advertising. Pianta’s office plans another NBAA event, reaching out to the food and beverage industry and conducting website enhancements and updates.
Going forward, Economic Development seeks more infrastructure-ready sites to attract future business. “Believe it or not, we’re actually running out of infrastructure-ready sites at the airport,” Pianta said. County Administrator Jeff Rogers and the commissioners acknowledged this would be an important factor for incoming business.
No votes on this topic were held during this meeting.