Steel company expands at Tampa port, creates 108 new jobs

January 27, 2015

Yvette C. Hammett | Tampa Tribune
A steel company with local roots and an international reach is expanding, adding 108 jobs and investing $18 million in a new facility on Port Tampa Bay property.
Tampa Tank Inc. and Florida Structural Steel plans to construct a 120,000 square-foot building at Port Redwing and retrofit an existing 40,000 square-foot building there. The company will add 24 jobs at its headquarters in Ybor City and 84 jobs at Port Redwing.
“Today’s announcement signifies Tampa Tank’s strong commitment to our community and the remarkable success our company is enjoying nationally and globally,” Tampa Tank CEO David Hale said in a press release Tuesday. “We appreciate the strong support we’ve received from our public and private partners, particularly Port Tampa Bay.”
Last year, Hale talked about the success his company has had with exports, something Port Tampa Bay is working to bolster. Tampa Tank exported some $60 million in steel products in 2013, doubling the company’s exports in just five years.
The company that builds and exports steel petroleum tanks, some the size of a football field, has regional offices in Panama, Guatamala, the Bahamas and Colombia and ships tanks as far away as Africa and the Middle East.
Port Tampa Bay will lease the company two buildings at Port Redwing, located near the Hillsborough-Manatee county line. The buildings will be used to fabricate steel and iron structures for export.
The new jobs will pay nearly 150 percent of the state’s average wage, according to the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.
This announcement is good news for Port Tampa Bay, said Port President and CEO Paul Anderson. “Tampa Tank has long been a supporter of the Tampa community and Port Tampa Bay. We are excited for their growth and expansion. We look forward to supporting them for years to come.”
Tampa Tank was established in 1953 and acquired Florida Steel in 1984.
“Manufacturing jobs are vitally important to Hillsborough County, so the announcement of Tampa Tank’s expansion is an exciting and important milestone for our community,” said Hillsborough County Commission Chair Sandy Murman. “We’ve proven once again that we can provide the leadership, business assistance and work force that growing firms like Tampa Tank need to prosper here,” she said in a press release. “We look forward to seeing Port Redwing’s transformation and supporting the growth of Tampa Tank” and the port.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn called the project “a big win for Tampa, for Port Tampa Bay and for our local residents who will secure high-wage jobs at Tampa Tank’s Ybor City headquarters and Port Redwing.” He said this project will kick off a revitalization at Port Redwing, which has been sitting vacant for years.
The project is the result of a partnership with the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County, which provided state and local incentives totalling $2 million. The company had been considering expanding in the Bahamas.
The economic corporation brokered an agreement with the county to give Tampa Tank a 50 percent property tax credit, which amounts to $778,785 over seven years. And because the property has been designated a brownfield, the company will get another 25 percent property tax credit for redeveloping the site. A brownfield is a previously developed site that may or may not have environmental cleanup associated with it.
The company also gets incentives for employee pay under the state’s Qualified Target Industries program. The qualifying wage is $50,000. The company will receive $8,000 per Ybor City job, with the county and city paying 20 percent of that. The company will receive $7,500 per job for the 84 Port Redwing positions, or $630,000 total, with the county picking up 20 percent and the state paying the remainder.
Port Tampa Bay is working to create a cluster of steel producers at Port Redwing and Port Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Raul Alfonso has said he’s been busy shopping for other businesses that would be compatible with the property. He expects to have another company on board within the next few months.
Tampa Tank signed a 20-year lease with the port.