NEW PORT RICHEY — A company with 115 workers decided to stay within the city of New Port Richey instead of relocating to Pinellas County after finding enough room here for expansion.
Applicant Insight signed a lease Jan. 6 for its new space at 5652 Meadowlane St., CEO Bon Idziak told City Council members.
Idziak praised the teamwork among officials who scouted the new location. Trinity-based Commercial Asset Partners Realty and the Pasco Economic Development Council played key roles in the search with city leaders.
The average annual salary of Applicant Insight’s employees is 125 percent of Pasco County’s median wage.
Founded in 1990, the company was outgrowing its current site at 5396 School Road. AI is a provider of background screening and substance abuse testing, both domestically and internationally.
“We set out on an adventure about nine months ago to find new office space, 20,000 square feet of space, to house our 115 employees,” Idziak told council members at their Jan. 7 meeting. It proved “quite difficult” to find that much office space in the city, he said.
“It was virtually impossible to stay within the county of Pasco, much less the city of New Port Richey,” Idziak commented.
When the Meadowlane site became available, city officials went to great lengths to help the company secure it, Idziak remarked.
Idziak was “very appreciate” for all the time Police Chief Kim Bogart devoted to “making us feel more comfortable about the work the city is doing in the area to improve security, improve patrols and make it a safer place for our employees, not only to work, but also to live.”
So AI “will be staying in the city of New Port Richey and expanding our relationships,” Idziak said.
Tom Ryan, PEDC economic development manager, ran with the ball when word first leaked out that AI could move to Pinellas County, according to PEDC President and CEO John Hagen.
“It’s also a testament to great teamwork on the part of New Port Richey, Pasco County, Duke Energy, Commercial Assets Partner Realty and several others that we were able to keep them in Pasco County, specifically in the city of New Port Richey,” Hagen added in comments Friday.
“Moreover, it is a start on redeveloping the area around the former Community Hospital site,” Hagen observed.
“In my view, it’s textbook in terms of how economic development is supposed to work. These are really tough situations to turn around, and we are relieved to have kept the company in our community and gratified that it will be expanding here in the future,” Hagen remarked.
When the property on Meadowlane Street became available last summer, Heidi Tuttle-Beisner, owner-broker of CAP Realty, collaborated with government leaders to retain Applicant Insight.
In the lease transaction, Tuttle-Beisner represented the landlord, Doyle Farm Family Limited Partnership. Todd Brandon and Grant Goodwiller of DTZ represented the tenant.
“When Community Hospital moved out of New Port Richey, it changed everything,” Tuttle-Beisner said in a press release. “That real estate market had largely been built around the medical community. The property on Meadowlane Street had been a surgery center, so Applicant Insight had to visualize the space with substantial changes.
“The large amount of space, the willingness of the landlord to build out the building and its close proximity to their current location made it the perfect choice for their new office,” Tuttle-Beisner added.
Construction has already begun, she said.
City officials also agreed to make improvements around the building, Tuttle-Beisner pointed out. This includes repairing the road and working with Duke Energy to install necessary street lighting and trim trees, among other initiatives. The police department also pledged new programs to boost security.
CAP Realty has grown into one of the top, mid-sized commercial real estate companies in the Tampa Bay area. For information, go online to www.cap-realty.com.