St. Johns County Economic Development: PGA TOUR, Inc. announces new global home in St. Johns County
In January 2018, the PGA TOUR, Inc. formally announced their decision to expand their presence in St. Johns County and build their new global home. This move will consolidate area employees under one roof in Ponte Vedra Beach once construction is complete on the new building in 2020.
The building is designed by London-based architectural firm Foster + Partners, designer of Apple’s headquarters among other worldwide projects. With thoughtful intention, the building is a symbolic structure for the organization, as it will be surrounded by a large lake, akin to the iconic Island Green 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass in its own backyard.
As the largest corporate headquarters in St. Johns County, the PGA TOUR has grown from a few employees in the late 1970s to the thriving worldwide organization it is today. The decision to expand the TOUR’s presence locally came after a significant amount of planning took place within a relatively short period to bring this project to fruition.
In March 2017, the PGA TOUR, under the code name Project Boilermaker, submitted an application for economic development incentives as they evaluated options, both within St. Johns County and externally, for their new corporate headquarters operation. The County Commission unanimously supported that request in April as the first step in the process.
In late May, the TOUR submitted applications to modify their Development of Regional Impact (DRI) and Planned Unit Development (PUD), which the Commission unanimously approved in October. These actions paved the way for the TOUR to invest $86 million and create 300 new high-wage jobs, while maintaining their existing 800 employees. Without these approvals, the TOUR would be unable to relocate their headquarters at the proposed location, and could have looked elsewhere to accomplish this goal.
Somewhat overlooked are the other benefits associated with this innovative public-private project. Enhancements will vastly improve vital infrastructure by replacing an antiquated county facility and upgrading a public safety control tower to withstand Category 5 hurricane winds at no cost to the county. Additionally, these actions will enable relocation of the Ponte Vedra Tax Collector Annex to newer leased offices, improving the resident customer experience and reducing future facility operational costs.
Accomplishing this public-private partnership also generates $28 million in tax revenue, reduces county long-term maintenance costs, and retains 800 high-wage TOUR employees, all providing extraordinary long-term benefits and a “win-win” for the TOUR and St. Johns County.
Keeping the TOUR headquarters will also help St. Johns County generate continued worldwide exposure. The media attention derived from their presence, and from THE PLAYERS Championship held each year, provides such a great showcase for the county. The project announcement alone generated 108 media stories in less than two weeks, with coverage in national publications like Architectural Digest and Golf Week, along with many other outlets.
That exposure definitely helps benefit economic development, and we sincerely thank the PGA TOUR for their continued investment in our community.
Melissa S. Glasgow serves as the Director of Economic Development for St. Johns County. Glasgow coordinates overall economic development efforts in St. Johns County and works closely with other partners to attract new businesses to the county, as well as support existing businesses.