First Watch to open new Manatee headquarters near UTC Mall

University Park, Fla.-based restaurant chain, First Watch, will expand its corporate headquarters to south Manatee County in 2021 with the completion of a 39,000-square-foot headquarters at University Town Center. 

Benderson Development is responsible for the building, which includes: collaborative and private office spaces, conference rooms, a fitness center, a test kitchen, classroom facilities for the company’s management academy, and more.

"When our founders moved the company to Florida more than 30 years ago, Manatee and Sarasota [counties] were sleepy beach communities, and they had the vision to raise their families and grow First Watch from here. Since that time, we’ve had the opportunity to develop amazing relationships with our loyal customers and to partner with some incredible community organizations like Forty Carrots Family Center, Habitat for Humanity, all the local schools, and other stand-out local organizations and community pillars. This is home," says First Watch CEO Chris Tomasso in a 2019 news release.

The First Watch headquarters expansion is projected to create 85 new jobs with an expected salary average of $82,000. 

Manatee County commissioners approved a performance-based economic development incentive package that includes up to $255,000 for job creation over five years and a multimodal transportation impact fee incentive estimated to be $135,240.

Learn more about Benderson Development here.

Read more articles by Jessi Smith.

Jessi Smith is a freelance writer and certified yoga instructor living in the historic, colorful Gillespie Park neighborhood of downtown Sarasota. A Florida native, Jessi spent her childhood exploring the mangroves along the riverbanks of the Manatee River, and to this day refuses to live anywhere that is not within walking distance of a body of water. She received her BA in Art History from Florida International University prior to moving to Sarasota, where she channeled her passion for the arts into a writing career and found yoga to counteract the effects of hunching over a keyboard for days at a time. Today, when Jessi is not writing or teaching, she enjoys traveling, thrifting and indulging in the Bay area’s distinctive culinary and craft brewery scenes.
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