By Steve Blanchard - January 23, 2023
Moffitt Cancer Center took a massive step in its mission to prevent and cure cancer.
On Jan. 20, nearly 200 leaders, elected officials, team members and patients celebrated the groundbreaking of the 775-acre Speros FL community coming to Pasco County.
“This is the fastest growing place in the state,” said Moffitt President and CEO Dr. Patrick Hwu. “We already have a third of our employees living in the county, and we think that it’s going to be a resource for the whole state and the whole country.”
Speros FL will boast 140 buildings that will house clinics, research, housing and more. Approximately 500 acres of the 775 acres will be developed, leaving 35% of the land for environmental conservation. The location off of Ridge Road in Land O’Lakes will be convenient to Tampa Bay area commuters and visitors alike, Hwu said, and will see its first patients in 2025.
Six miles of new roads will be constructed for Speros FL, including an extension to U.S. 41.
Moffitt leadership unveiled details of the first phase of the project, including the official naming of Wilton Way, a road honoring Agricultural Commissioner and former Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson for his support of the project.
The first 75 acres of the development also honored Simpson and was officially named the W.E. Simpson Concourse for Cures.
“Thousands of jobs will be created here, but we will be curing cancer,” Simpson said of the new campus. “Families will be able to keep their loved ones around a lot longer and enjoy their lives, and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”
Lee Moffitt, the cancer center’s founder and namesake, called the day both historic and emotional. He thanked Simpson for his crucial support of the cancer center over the years and for his dedication to the Speros FL project.
“We’ve had extraordinary support from our legislature and the local government,” Moffitt said. “They have funded us consistently over the years.”
The groundbreaking symbolized the beginning of construction of the complex, including a 100,000-square-foot clinic and a research center sprawling 250,000 square feet. Hwu also shared that a state-of-the-art proton flash therapy unit will open on the site in 2026.
"This amazing technology will allow cancer cells to be killed in less than a second while sparing healthy tissues."- Dr. Patrick Hwu, President and CEO
“This amazing technology will allow cancer cells to be killed in less than a second while sparing healthy tissues,” Hwu said. “It’s another important tool in our arsenal to complete our mission of preventing and curing cancer.”
Speros FL’s location in Pasco County is critical in allowing Moffitt to grow in a way it currently cannot.
“We’ve run out of space,” Moffitt said, calling the groundbreaking an emotional day. “We needed a greater research facility, more clinical space, room for our proton center and educational facilities.”
The cancer center announced the name of the campus in December, explaining that “Speros” is a derivative of the Latin verb “sperare,” which means “to hope” or “to look forward to.”
“You cannot separate cancer research and treatment from hope, which is the root of the name Speros FL, and the driving force behind all that we do at Moffitt,” Hwu said. “Our vision is to be the global epicenter for personalized oncology care and leading research that will revolutionize the way we prevent, find and treat cancer.”
Speros FL will be one of the largest medical cities on record, Hwu said, adding that growth will continue at the Pasco County site for the next decade or more.
SPEROS BY THE NUMBERS
- 14,000. Approximate number of Moffitt team members at project completion.
- 500. Acres of the total 775 acres to be developed, allowing for environmental preservation.
- 140. The number of buildings to be built on the site.
- 6+. Miles of new road construction for the entire project.
- 2023-2028: The years in which construction is planned to complete Phase 1A of the campus.
- $1.6 billion: The estimated cost of Phase 1A.
- $600 million: Total investment in Phase 1A by Moffitt, the state of Florida and Pasco County. (Including $200 million for research, $80 million for clinical, $70 million for proton therapy and $100 million for infrastructure)
- $1 billion: Private sector investment for Phase 1A.