Writer: Alejandro Sanchez
2 min read February 2022 — After an exceptional year for the industry, banking and financial leaders in Tampa Bay are confident in the region’s economic potential. As an active participant in the process of economic recovery, the industry is doubling down on the efforts to make the city and surrounding areas a national epicenter for business activities. Invest: spoke with local leaders within these sectors about what makes the Tampa Bay region such a unique place to live, play and work.
Ken LaRoe, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Climate First Bank
We conducted a market analysis and had various conversations when deciding to locate in the St. Petersburg area. The community has the perfect ethos and culture for what we desire to accomplish, which are the primary reasons why we chose the area. The Tampa region is a vibrant and dynamic market that hosts a younger generation, which is an attractive aspect of the area as well. We recently purchased a permanent building in St. Petersburg, which we will convert to a LEED-certified and net-zero energy building. There is a large number of businesses flooding into the area, which is wonderful to hear and witness.
Will Weatherford, Managing Partner, Weatherford Capital
Tampa Bay has been an unwritten story to a large extent. There has been a delta between the reality and perception of Tampa Bay, and that delta is closing. People are starting to see Tampa for what it really is, not what they thought it was or what it was 20 years ago. There has been an incredible transformation here. This is a place where people raise families and build businesses. With so much growth and activity, this is an exciting place to be and there’s nowhere else I’d rather have our firm based.
Joel Stevens, Senior Managing Director, Bernstein Private Wealth Management
In short, it’s the confluence of a number of positive attributes that provide something for everybody. Tampa is experiencing tremendous growth on all fronts, and there is a great energy and vibe. Amazing weather, beach access, a thriving multicultural scene, great healthcare, lower taxes and overall affordability afford a high quality of life and make Tampa one of the absolute best places to live, work and play. All this also makes Tampa one of the hottest markets for relocation in the United States. While historically we may have thought of Florida as the place to retire, Tampa has a fast-growing younger population, adding to the city’s energy. Then, corporations, entrepreneurs and young professionals are flocking to Tampa and driving a vibrant merger and acquisition wave that is not slowing anytime soon. On top of all that, our professional sports teams are quantifiably the best in the country with multiple world championships. For me, Tampa offers big-city amenities but possesses a small-city feel and convenience that is open to outsiders who are willing to get involved and give back to the community.
Albert Lee, President & CEO, Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation
Tampa Bay is the place to be, with a diverse population in a beautiful location. When examining distribution centers, Polk and Eastern Hillsborough County have become the hub for Florida. I have witnessed the evolution of Tampa Bay as it has become a hub for entrepreneurship. It’s difficult to have a conversation without discussing entrepreneurship, whether it be within the restaurant industry, the hospitality industry or others. The healthcare industry has exploded with the growth of our universities and the expansion of technology. Tampa Bay and technology once didn’t coincide with one another. However, as the region has grown, the cities of Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg have become attractive areas for people to gather, live and start their businesses. We still have some ways to go, but I believe that with the combination of the weather, the demographics of the area and the geographic location, people are drawn to the area.
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