As reported by the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday, plans have come to light for big changes at New Port Richey’s “SMARTsmart” Business Incubator on Grand Boulevard. The Pasco Economic Development Council (PEDC) will cease its operation at the New Port Richey location and may seek another incubator location in West Pasco.
The current space will convert to office space, most of which is to be leased to one of the building’s current tenants, Tampa Bay Multimedia, Inc., a video production company that produces commercials for local businesses as well as other types of multimedia, including graphic design.
According to New Port Richey Mayor Rob Marlowe, the rent from that deal will “more than cover” the building’s expenses, and the City plans to seek additional locations to convert into a new business incubator. “Our efforts for a business incubator are hardly done,” Marlowe said by phone, “there are plenty of locations for us to consider.”
The move comes after a long period of underwhelming results from PEDC, whose incubator program is led by Krista Covey. PEDC was originally contracted to handle the City’s social media and web presence, a contract which was eventually allowed to expire after City leaders were critical of the performance. The incubator has recently offered space to businesses not traditionally associated with “startups.” Among those was a “life coach” business, a hair salon, and a lawyer’s office.