Mysterious ‘Project Knight’ wants $560,000 to bring 100 jobs to Gardens

3:58 p.m Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 Local
Jennifer Podis/Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Palm Beach Gardens City Council will vote on economic incentives for “Project Knight” on Thursday. (Jennifer Podis/The Palm Beach Post file photo)

An undisclosed company identified as “Project Knight” is asking for $560,000 in economic incentives to consolidate jobs across the U.S. in one location in Palm Beach Gardens.

RELATED: Million-dollar awards to companies that choose Palm Beach County could be cut

Palm Beach Gardens and Palm Beach County are each expected to pitch in $70,000 toward the tax-incentive package, and the state would cover the rest.

In exchange, the company has pledged to invest $25 million in its building in Palm Beach Gardens and create 100 jobs the next three years.

RELATED: PBG deals with companies will bring hundreds of jobs

The new jobs will have an average annual wage of $91,124, according to city documents.

The company says it’s also seeking sites outside of Florida. It employs about 121,000 people in 74 factories, 49 research and development centers and 2,500 branches worldwide.

State law allows companies to ask for confidentiality when negotiating with a government’s economic development agency for incentives to move to or expand in Florida. Public records with the name of the company are usually unavailable until the deal is final.

However, the “Project Knight” company is identified in city documents as the “world’s largest provider of building technologies,” which is how United Technologies Building & Industrial Systems brands itself in news releases and on the United Technologies website.

It’s also how Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development organization, identified United Technologies Building & Industrial Systems in a news release announcing an economic incentives package for the Fortune 500 company in 2015.

In that deal, Gov. Rick Scott offered United Technologies subsidiary Carrier Corp. $4.9 million from the Quick Action Closing Fund for its $115 million technology showcase building off Donald Ross Road. The new Center for Intelligent Buildings will be the corporate headquarters for the UTC Climate, Controls & Security division.

As part of that incentives package, the company agreed to employ at least 450 people at the building, 380 of them new to Palm Beach County. The average salary for the jobs is $85,000.

Business Development Board President & CEO Kelly Smallridge said she could not confirm or deny the identity of the “Project Knight” company because of the confidentiality agreements she signs.

Neither could Palm Beach Gardens, city spokeswoman Candice Temple said.

A representative from the Business Development Board will be at the 7 p.m. Thursday City Council meeting during which Palm Beach Gardens officials are expected to vote on the incentives package.

A United Technologies Climate, Controls & Security spokeswoman offered: “We have not made an announcement and do not respond to speculation.”