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Time Warner to create 500 jobs (over five years) in new Tampa-area center

Gov. Rick Scott and Time Warner CFO John Martin announced Tuesday the media company will create 500 jobs for a new shared resource center in Hillsborough County over five years.

The center should open in late 2012 in either Tampa or Temple Terrace, starting with about 100 employees. The jobs will mainly be in human resources and information technology, with average salaries starting "north of $50,000a year," Martin said.

"We only need 1,400 of these announcements," Scott joked.

Time Warner, based in New York, already has a sizeable presence in Atlanta with Turner Broadcasting, which was its runner-up location. Florida's state and local tax incentives were a big part of the company's decision to move to Hillsborough, Martin said. He thought the total amount of incentives was about $3 million. A breakdown was not immediately available.

“We’re very focused on getting returns,” Scott said.

The county's labor force was probably the biggest reason Florida won out, he said, citing its strength and depth of the pool, and employees' accessibility to transportation and cost of living.

The shared resource center will reduce jobs that have repeated functions throughout the company. About 50 or so employees will move to the Hillsborough County center, which is not included in the company’s commitment of 500 jobs in five years, Scott spokesman Lane Wright said.

In addition to Atlanta, the Tampa area beat out Rochester, N.Y., Phoenix, Ariz., Nashville, Tenn., and Charlotte, N.C., to name a few, Martin said. Most of the tax incentives offered in those cities were comparable to Florida's, he said.

"Over the last six months we have thoroughly evaluated 59 cities across a number of criteria, and I’m very confident in saying we are very confident that Florida is going to be a great place to do business," Martin said.

Scott pledged to create 700,000 jobs in seven years on the campaign. He acknowledged Tuesday that Time Warner’s pledge will do nothing to help out recent unemployment counts.

Time Warner already has a presence in Tampa. The company opened a customer service office 25 years ago for Time Inc., its magazine company. Successes with that operation "underscored our confidence that we could grow a new business here," he said.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham and Rhea Law, chairwoman of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, attended the news conference but did not speak.