Investor Spotlight: Hillsborough River Realty Corp.
September 21, 2017
Hillsborough River Realty Corp. (HRRC) is a real estate company and long-time investor in the Tampa business community. The company’s proposed 6.24-acre “Lafayette Place” mixed-use development is located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Kennedy Boulevard and the Hillsborough River. It includes a mix of hotel, office, retail and residential uses designed within a three-block component of complementary buildings – Lafayette Tower, Lafayette Parkview and Lafayette Central. Lafayette Place advances the vision and objectives of the City of Tampa’s master plan for the center city and westward redevelopment of downtown Tampa.
John LaRocca is a Senior Vice President with Hillsborough River Realty Corp. and Jeffries Travis Realty Corp., a Jeffries Companies Subsidiary. LaRocca is an urban planner specializing in real estate advisory and asset management services, zoning and land use entitlement, comprehensive land use planning, regulatory permitting, project management, and government liaison. A Tampa native, his experience over the past 40 years includes public and private sector work locally as well as throughout the United States. He has managed the planning and entitlement process for a variety of large-scale multi-disciplinary projects throughout Florida. In addition to working with the Tampa Hillsborough EDC, LaRocca is past chairman of the Tampa Downtown Partnership and serves on its Executive Committee.
1. Tampa and Hillsborough County continues to rise as a top business destination for relocations and expansions. When you are traveling or visiting other markets, what do you tell the people you meet about our community?
I tell people that Tampa is a city with a diverse culture, history and economy. As the center of the metropolitan area, Tampa offers significant opportunities to investors in business and real estate expansion and redevelopment. I highlight our community leaders who understand the need to advance, support, and expand a diverse economy and workforce. There has been a rediscovery and rebirth of the city center that is not a trend but a reality, with opportunities to reinvigorate forgotten neighborhoods and build new communities with purpose. But above all, Tampa is a great place to live and welcomes newcomers with open arms.
2. How does your company impact the business culture of Tampa and Hillsborough County?
Hillsborough River Realty Corp. began its investment and commitment to Tampa in the early 1980s by assembling properties on the west bank of the Hillsborough River, with a vision that Tampa’s city center was more than the historical central business district. HRRC recognized there were existing neighborhoods ringing the central business district that should be linked to the city core. We also supported and recognized the importance of the University of Tampa as an anchor and economic engine for the advancement of not only downtown, but the entire Tampa and Hillsborough County area. With its mixed-use Lafayette Place development plans, HRRC offers opportunities for business and residential expansion in the city center and a commitment to complete the link and connection of neighborhoods.
3. Where do you derive the most benefit for yourself and your company as an EDC Investor?
We value the ability to communicate and share ideas, concerns, and opportunities to protect and advance our company’s advancement while at the same time, adding to the EDC’s base of real estate data for those seeking to grow here in Tampa and Hillsborough County. We have been Investors of the EDC since the early to mid-1980s when it stood as the Committee of 100. Together, we work to make Tampa and Hillsborough County a great place to do business.
4. The EDC offers a variety of services to the local business community, as well as businesses looking to relocate or expand their operations into Hillsborough County. In your opinion, what is the most valuable service provided by the EDC?
I believe the base of support and knowledge offered by the EDC is its most valuable service. Whether it’s information on economic development or the Tampa and Hillsborough County community, the EDC team has the knowledge and tools to help companies seeking relocation or expansion here.