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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real Estate Florida.)

ST. PETERSBURG, FL-Jabil Circuit Inc., a locally based electronics manufacturer, announced over the weekend that it plans to build a $52-million facility on 100 acres along Interstate 275. The news comes as Jabil commits to keeping its headquarters here after winning nearly $27 million in state and local economic incentives.

Additional details about the new building were not immediately available Monday, pending future city and county government approvals, though the company did release an architect’s rendering. Jabil is currently based at a site on Martin Luther King Jr. Street in St. Petersburg, while its new headquarters will be at the northwest corner of I-275 and Gandy Boulevard.

“We intend to proceed with a plan to build a new manufacturing plant and consolidate corporate functions in a single location,” Timothy L. Main, Jabil president and CEO, stated in a release. A groundbreaking ceremony is planned later this year, with completion of the new headquarters scheduled by 2012.

Jabil, which posted revenue of $12.3 billion in fiscal 2007, had been secretly negotiating an incentive package for much of this year. The package announced Friday includes $20 million cash from the State of Florida, $2.9 million in job creation and training grants from Pinellas County and $1.7 million in tax breaks and other incentives from the City of St. Petersburg.

State government leaders have pledged another $2 million toward improvements to Gandy Boulevard near the new plant site. This will supplement $11 million previously committed to Gandy Boulevard by St. Petersburg from impact fees and federal grant funds.

“The company’s contributions to our business community have translated into high-value jobs, innovative solutions and many other benefits to the state, as well as the Tampa Bay region,” Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who is from St. Petersburg, said in a prepared statement. “I welcome the successes that are sure to come from Jabil’s expansion.”

Jabil, which has operated in St. Petersburg since 1983, says it has increased its personnel in the county by 28% over the last five years, to 1,880 employees. It intends to add another 850 by the time its new facilities are completed, even though it announced pink slips for 120 workers just last week.

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