The St. Joe Company (NYSE: JOE) today hosted the groundbreaking ceremony for the ITT Exelis (NYSE: XLS) 105,000 square foot building at VentureCrossings Enterprise Centre. Governor Rick Scott and other elected officials spoke at the event, emphasizing the significance of this groundbreaking and their shared commitment to economic development in Northwest Florida.

“Florida’s strong military and defense industry, along with the steps we are taking to make Florida the best place for businesses to grow and expand, will provide companies like St. Joe and ITT Exelis every opportunity to succeed and prosper,” said Governor Rick Scott. “Today’s celebration represents the economic benefits possible when the public and private sectors work cooperatively to implement a shared plan.”

ITT Exelis, the first corporate tenant at VentureCrossings, will lease the facility, which will be occupied by both office and manufacturing operations. The new facility and location will allow the company to meet current and emerging requirements of its military, government and commercial customers.

“This new facility consolidates three locations into one and significantly improves our operation’s efficiency,” said Chris Carlson, Director of Business Development at Exelis Electronic Systems. “Since our systems are large, this new building will allow us to efficiently work on multiple systems under one roof to meet our customers’ growing needs.”

ITT Exelis anticipates moving into the new building in mid-2012, relocating employees from its current facility as well as adding new jobs.

Patrick Bienvenue, St. Joe’s Executive Vice President, said, “St. Joe is excited to reach this milestone and celebrate quality job retention and expansion here in Bay County. While we will continue to work hard to ensure that this is the first of many such celebrations in VentureCrossings, we take this opportunity to congratulate ITT Exelis on their success and thank them for choosing St. Joe to assist them with this growth.”

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