Hillsborough County leaders weigh land swap deal for new HCSO headquarters

On Thursday, Hillsborough County leaders will discuss a land swap that would allow the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to move its headquarters.

Commissioners will discuss a land swap between the county and a Gasworx developer that would move HCSO's headquarters out of Ybor City and into Brandon. 

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The 24-acre property in Brandon is Grow Financial’s headquarters off the Selmon Expressway. The Gasworx developer is under contract to acquire Grow Financial. 

The Brandon property would give the Sheriff’s Office three times the space for its headquarters, and the building is also decades newer.

"We’re in an old building," Sheriff Chad Chronister said. "There’s a lot of maintenance and upkeep that comes with providing service out of an older building. That aging building is not as safe in terms of hurricane rating. There’s no room to expand as we continue to expand."

In exchange, the Gasworx developer would take over the HCSO headquarters in Ybor. Grow Financial will break ground on a new building later this year in Gasworx. 

County leaders say the potential land swap would give the developer the opportunity to expand his footprint even more in Ybor at a prime location and create more tax revenue for the area.

Current Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office headquarters

"Think about this: The county doesn't pay taxes. We're not paying taxes, and we have a large footprint in our city. We know the migration of development is Water Street through downtown, and now the natural progression would continue to migrate north into our city," Chronister said.

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Chronister said there’s also a potential to save $100 million by moving now compared to waiting years down the road.

"Imagine how much better the community would be, the city would be, us as a Hillsborough County would be when they start building houses, and they start building retail. The tax revenue that's generated from there and the benefit that can continue even, and I'm not being selfish, just public safety and first responders, but think about all that tax revenue that will be built on top of just being more culturally diversified and everything that comes along with developing Ybor City. There's a lot of benefits," Chronister said. 

The potential move would also put the Sheriff’s Office in a more central spot in the county, Chronister said.

Grow Financial building in Brandon

"Back in 1972 when our headquarters was built, it was centrally located. Now, as much as the county has grown, we're not so centrally located. So, when that person needs a report, needs to come apply for a job, whatever the case may be, we want to be able to be more accessible. So, I think there are a lot of benefits to it. I don't see an advantage a disadvantage to it," Chronister said. 

The Brandon location has 140,000 square feet of office space and a three-story parking garage that includes about 502 spaces. 

If commissioners OK the property swap at Thursday’s 9 a.m. meeting, they’d then have to give the public the opportunity to weigh in. Then, there could be a final vote by the fall. If it’s all approved, the project would take about three years to complete, county leaders say.