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St. Pete welcomes tech company GeniusCentral to Warehouse Arts District

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

You want to see first-hand how tech companies in Silicon Vally do business on a daily basis? Check out GeniusCentral’s new headquarters in St. Pete’s Warehouse Arts District. Its grand opening was Tuesday.

The 17,000-square-foot warehouse is a hipster fantasy land, with original art and murals all over the walls, a food and juice bar, ping-pong and foosball tables, wide-open work spaces, balconies, wooden bleachers with pillows, and a lounge room that looks like an extra-long silver Airstream trailer from the ’60s.

“When you think of art, you think of creativity,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, speaking from a lectern in front of a wall made to look like the insides of a computer chip with a fingerprint worked into it. “What is better, that’s going on right here, than creativity?”

After considering different cities around the country, including Tampa, GeniusCentral announced back in March of this year that it would be moving from Sarasota to St. Pete. One of the deciding factors: local government.

“I would encourage other businesses […] to come to St. Pete,” said John Miles, GeniusCentral’s CEO. “There really is an administration and Chamber that’s here to support business growth and bring entrepreneurs and start-ups in.”

GeniusCentral specializes in actionable intelligence, or any intelligence that can be used to boost a company’s strategic position beyond that of its industry peers. Genius’ current services include wireless multi-vendor ordering, automated ordering solutions, product data management, and custom mobile applications.

According to a past press-release, the company, after the headquarter switch, planned to hire 40 new employees with annual pay scales at or above 115 percent of the State of Florida wage, which is $42,446.

Those figures are not only welcoming to the employee, but to the employer as well, as Florida’s Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program could potentially return to GeniusCentral $8,000 for each job it creates that pays equal to or greater than 115 percent of the State of Florida wage. (The state would provide 80 percent of that return money, while St. Petersburg and Pinellas County would each cover 10 percent of the remaining 20 percent.)

So far, 15 St. Petersburg hires have been made by GeniusCentral since opening the new headquarters — as was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

GeniusCentral’s new Warehouse Arts District location — 2232 5th Avenue South — also places the company within St. Petersburg’s enterprise zone, which, along with a high impact sector bonus, will allow GeniusCentral to realize an additional $5,000 for each new job created.

“‘Great moments are born of great opportunity,'” Mayor Kriseman quoted Nikola Tesla as saying. “Genius Central has seized the opportunity here in St. Petersburg and in the Warehouse Arts District.”

The company also still seems to like the idea of luring in new talent with their trendy, laid-back, Silicon-Valley-inspired working conditions, though.

“The fact that USF is here is very meaningful to us,” said Tom Danis, GeniusCentral’s chairman. “One of the reasons we chose this area was because of the quality of student that was being developed here. [This leads to] a better workforce for us […] in the future.”

Before pausing for pictures and to cut the ceremonial ribbon, Mayor Kriseman asked the crowd: “What will the world be like for our children?” To which he responded, “that question is being answered by companies like GeniusCentral.”

Devon Crumpacker is a Tampa Bay based writer and reporter for Extensive Enterprises Media. He primarily covers Pinellas County politics for SaintPetersblog.com, but also makes time to write the occasional bar review for FloridaBarTab.com. He lives in St. Petersburg with his fiance, Sydney. To contact, e-mail devon@floridapolitics.com, or visit his Twitter page @DevonCrumpacker.

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