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USAA expansion at Crosstown Center may bring Hillsborough 1,000 more jobs

BRANDON — Insurance and financial services company USAA will bring as many as 1,000 more jobs to Hillsborough County by early 2019 as it expands it existing operations in Brandon.

"I can't overemphasize the importance of a win like this," Craig Richard, CEO of Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., said Wednesday.

The San Antonio, Tex.-based company, which serves members and former members of the military and their families, is building a new 240,000 square-foot office building at Crosstown Center near the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway and U.S. 301.

The growth spurt comes just two years after USAA opened a 420,000-square-foot location in the same place in 2015. USAA also operates a half-million square-foot center at Commerce Park, in New Tampa, which opened in 1993.

USAA was offered an incentives package of $3.65 million for its 2015 project — $729,000 approved by the Hillsborough County Commissioners and $2.9 million from the state — but did not end up accepting the package, a USAA spokesperson said.

Related coverage: USAA adding up to 1,215 jobs, building facility in Brandon

This round of expansion did not include any government incentives, according to the Tampa Hillsborough EDC and USAA.

USAA currently employs 3,600 people in Tampa. Many work directly with customers, handling insurance claims and helping with mortgages. The majority of new employees will fill similar roles.

USAA indicated it does not currently know what the average salary of the employees will be. The company raised its minimum wage to $16 per hour in April, and eligible employees also receive an annual bonus of 16.8 percent of their salary.

"Tampa has been a great market for us, and we are thrilled to be expanding our presence in the region," Yvette Segura, USAA vice president and general manager in Tampa, said in a statement. "Our growth here is part of our broader commitment to improve the products and services we offer our members and strengthen our reputation as a great place to work."

More than 73,000 military retirees and spouses live within 50 miles of the Tampa Bay area's major military installation, MacDill Air Force Base, as well as about 18,000 active duty service members and civilians, according to MacDill's 2014 economic impact statement.

"They're coming here for a reason," Rich McClain, former executive director of the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance, said. "I don't think I've ever been in a community that embraces the military like Tampa Bay does."

Among the area's draws are cost of living, climate and quality of life.

USAA employs 32,000 people worldwide and serves more than 12 million members.

In addition to Tampa, San Antonio-based USAA is building a new 150,000 square-foot office building adjacent to an existing location in Plano, Tex. — enough room for up to 850 additional employees.

Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo on Twitter.

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