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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Suzuki Motors of America has settled on an office building off Tampa Road near Oldsmar as the corporate headquarters for its new company, Suzuki Marine USA.

Why it matters: The Tampa Bay Economic Development Council said the company will create "numerous jobs over the next several years" and operations are set to begin in April.

The backdrop: The move comes as part of a restructuring Suzuki announced last year to split off its motorcycle and ATV business from its marine division, which is focused on outboard motors.

What they're saying: "Tampa is the heart of the marine business in North America," said Masahiro Yamamoto, president of Suzuki Marine USA, in a news release.

  • "We are confident that Tampa’s collaborative business climate, excellent quality of life and strategic location will help us build a successful company in the United States."

The intrigue: While no one would specify how many jobs the company would bring, Hillsborough Commission chair Pat Kemp said the "economic impact will be felt throughout our community for years to come."

Sensing a trend: Suzuki Marine is just the latest company to move to Tampa. It joins Bertram Yachts, The Mosaic Company, Ekoa Brands, and OPSWAT.  

  • 🏝 Suzuki said Tampa was a strategic choice as it aims to improve collaboration within the marine industry and strengthen its relationship with boat builders, dealers, and vendors.

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Go deeper

Updated Feb 4, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: Hospitality and the return to work in Tampa

On Thursday, February 4, Axios Tampa Bay reporters Selene San Felice and Ben Montgomery hosted a Smart Take conversation on the hospitality industry, economic recovery and the return to work in Tampa, featuring Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Tampa Bay Economic Development Council CEO Craig Richard.

Mayor Jane Castor discussed how Tampa has approached public health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • On how the city is supporting its residents during the pandemic. "There's a moratorium on any evictions...In addition, we are working in collaboration with career sources on workforce development. That is one of the larger elements of my administration's platform."
  • On how existing development projects were able to safely progress during the pandemic: "We hired a medical director at the city and individuals had to be screened before they could come on the job site. They had to wear masks, they had to socially distance and there had to be hand washing stations throughout those locations. ..I'm very proud to say, out of the thousands of workers that we were able to keep employed, we had very few COVID-19 cases at those locations."

Craig Richard unpacked economic development in Tampa and the impact it has on the 2021 Super Bowl.

  • On the challenges of economic development during the pandemic: "Tampa Bay's challenges aren't unlike any other big cities challenges right now: the challenges that we're facing are primarily pandemic related. All the obstacles and barriers that are associated with that it difficult to bring in clients and prospects and actually show them the fine city that we have."

Axios Senior Vice President of Client Partnerships Jon Otto hosted a View from the Top segment with 'Dinner Done!' co-founder and CEO Audra Nasser, who discussed the food industry in Tampa.

  • How having a digital presence impacted their ability to operate during the pandemic: "It also gave us inventory controls and that turned out to be very critical in our ability to immediately begin offering curbside pickup to our customers. Additionally, we used a lot of social media like Facebook and Instagram to continuously communicate with our customers."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

The Super Bowl highlights the dark side of Tampa Bay's sex trade

An anti-trafficking poster in Miami ahead of its Super Bowl last year. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images

The Super Bowl has become, well, the Super Bowl of anti-human-trafficking campaigns.

What's happening: Tampa saw 71 arrests last month in a trafficking sting, mirroring similar mass arrests in Miami and Atlanta ahead of their Super Bowls.

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."