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.
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Jessi Smith (she/they) is a freelance writer who is passionate about sustainability, community building, and the power of the arts and transformative storytelling. A fourth-generation Floridian, Jessi received her B.A. in Art History and English from Florida International University and began reporting for 83 Degrees in 2009. When she isn't writing, Jessi enjoys taking her deaf rescue dog on outdoors adventures, unearthing treasures in backroads antiques and thrift shops, D.I.Y. upcycling projects, and Florida-friendly gardening.