A Canadian tech company is planning to establish its U.S. headquarters on Longboat Key, which will bring dozens of high-wage jobs to Sarasota County.
The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County is not revealing the name of the company at this time, but a county document notes that the company “provides video creators a way to host, manage, distribute and create feeds and monetize their online content.”
“To be able to have a U.S. headquarters on Longboat Key, I think that’s pretty unique, and it’s a unique opportunity,” Commissioner Christian Ziegler said at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting.
The business has identified an 8,400-square-foot facility in Sarasota County to lease for five years, according to a county document.
Erin Silk, the vice president of business development services for the EDC, presented the company’s plan to the commission on Tuesday.
“For me, this project is exciting,” Silk said, “because it sends a clear message to growing companies, both nationally and internationally, that Sarasota County is a place built for serious business success.”
She said the company is committed to creating 165 new tech jobs in Sarasota County over the next five years.
However, a county document notes that the facility on Longboat Key, once renovated, will be able to accommodate 50 to 70 employees. The Herald-Tribune asked Knight Strategic Communications, the PR firm representing the EDC, if the employees would work in a hybrid format, and the firm said the EDC can’t disclose the job format at this time because it is considered confidential information under Florida Statue 288.075.
The County Commission voted unanimously to give an $825,000 Economic Development Incentive Grant to the company to help it expand into Sarasota County. The company and the county have not yet signed a contract, which will need to happen for the company to receive the grant, which will be paid over several years.
Some commissioners expressed worries that the company may hire remote employees for the U.S. headquarters who live in other parts of the country.
The commission decided to make the grant agreement contingent on the company having all of its new full-time employees reside in Sarasota, Manatee or Charlotte counties. These employees do not have to already live in those counties – they could move to the Sarasota-Manatee area to start their new job.
Silk said that the 165 new tech jobs that the company will create in Sarasota County will have an average annual wage of $102,000.
The company plans to eventually have 41 management employees at its U.S. headquarters, who will make $170,000 on average, and 124 non-management employees, who will make $80,000 on average.
Anne Snabes covers city and county government for the Herald-Tribune. You can contact her at [email protected] or (941) 228-3321 and follow her on Twitter at @a_snabes.