Renowned as the leading center of business and industry in Pinellas County, the Gateway area is home to more than 33,000 jobs, a number that far exceeds its residential population. The Gateway area’s close proximity to Pinellas Park and other communities means that those who live outside of this thriving business community enjoy a short commute to work.

Currently, approximately 42% of the jobs in the area are service, 30% are commercial, and 28% are industrial. The area is renowned for its plethora of manufacturing, marketing and financial services firms, but businesses in the Gateway area vary dramatically in size, scope and type of services offered.

graphicGateway’s largest employer in the service category—which includes financial services, insurance, communications, research, professions and other services—is Raymond James and Associates, employing 1,600 people. The largest employer in the commercial sector—which includes retail sales, restaurants and wholesale trade—is the Home Shopping Network, which boasts 5,000 employees. Among the area’s top corporations, educational, and government agencies are Jabil Circuit, GTE Directories, Compulink Cable Assemblies, Smith Industries, Publix Supermarket, AmSouth Bank, St. Petersburg College, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and Eva-Tone.

Because of the large inventory of office space and business parks, many small to medium firms can also easily locate in the Gateway area. Gateway’s easy access via I-275 to Pinellas Park and other residential areas makes it especially attractive. Space for development or expansion is ample; in the recent past, Certegy, Inc. and Avaya have located an excess of 2,000 employees to the area, and Aegon-Western Reserve, Franklin Templeton Funds and Bright House Networks have relocated to the area, bringing thousands of jobs. In addition, the Airport Business Center located in mid-Gateway, consists of 42 acres, offers over 404,000 square feet of high-tech office space and is currently the home for approximately 152 small, medium and large businesses, some of which are Fortune 500 companies.

The Gateway area is home to 14.6 million square feet of commercial office, manufacturing, retail and warehousing space, including 1.7 million square feet that is governmentally owned or leased. Future planned development includes more than nine million square feet of office space, 6.5 million square feet of industrial space, and 466,000 square feet of retail space. In addition, the Carillion Office Complex plans to offer more than six million square feet upon build-out.

In addition to office, industrial and retail space, the Gateway area also plans to add 2,300 hotel rooms and more than 1,500 residential units. The Gateway area’s strong economic base and the abundance of open space create an environment where businesses of all sizes can thrive and grow.

Complementing the newer business developments of the Gateway area is the more established business community of Pinellas Park.  Prominent industries include electronic component assembly for communications, medical and surgical supplies, equipment development, printing and publishing. Manufacturing firms employ approximately 16.5% of the workforce, while retail and wholesale trade, the leaders of the Pinellas Park business community, employ 20.4% of its workforce, followed by government, education and social services at 18.8%.    

Many major employers are located within Pinellas Park’s city limits, such as Cardinal Health (R.P. Scherer), Environmental Technologies, G A Foods, Maxxim Medical, Sam’s Club/Wal-Mart, Transitions Optical and Ven-Tel Plastics.  The businesses located in Pinellas Park provide an estimated 28,964 local jobs.

One of Pinellas Park’s premier business parks is Gateway Centre.  Conveniently located just north of Gandy/Park Boulevard and between U.S. Highway 19 and 28th Street, Gateway Centre is home to the Joint Armed Forces Reserve Training Center, which opened in 2004, many established companies like Hunter Douglas and Lockheed Martin, and also a new, upscale residential apartment community called Gateway Villas.

While many communities see their local economies rise and fall with the successes and failures of a dominant local industry, Pinellas Park has demonstrated a rarely seen resilience to economic downswings and recessions. The chief reason for this is the area’s massive workforce and its investments in many diverse industries, each of which ebbs and flows independently of the others. This economic model has lent the area a strong economic backbone and ensures a healthy economy inthe future.

A large, educated and highly trained work-force contributes as much to the stability of the local economy as the area’s employers. Pinellas County has approximately 922,000 residents, the fifth-most in Florida. Pinellas Park’s labor force of approximately 26,000 is mostly drawn from this number. A shift to a larger, growing resource of younger and retirement-age workers, known for their high productivity and low absenteeism, means that area businesses can take advantage of a skilled and reliable labor pool.

 

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