Why is West Palm considering paying $100K to lure two new companies?


West Palm Beach may offer $100,000 in job creation incentives to two firms considering relocation

The city is considering dishing out about $100,000 to entice two unidentified firms to move in, one in aerospace/aviation, the other in life sciences.

City commission votes are scheduled for July 17 for “Project Falcon” and “Project Cell,” respectively.

Both companies are considering moving to locations in City Commission District 2, which is in the central part of West Palm Beach, generally between Military Trail and Village Boulevard.

According to the commission agenda, Project Falcon is the code name for an aerospace or aviation firm that wants to relocate to the city with 450 jobs and create an additional 200 over the next five years.

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The jobs would have an average salary of about $66,000.

Under the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program run by the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity, Falcon would qualify for $800,000 in incentives from the state, county and city, or $4,000 per job created, paid over five years starting in 2017.

The state would pay the biggest part of the incentives package, $640,000, while the county would match the city’s $80,000. That breaks down to 80 percent from the state, 10 percent from the county and 10 from the city.

Falcon would invest $3 million, including $2.25 million in furniture and computer equipment and $750,000 in construction and renovation.

None of the incentive money will be paid out until performance goals are met, including job numbers, capital investment and average wages, Erin Gillespie, director of communications and external affairs for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, said Monday.

Project Cell, meanwhile, is the code name for a life sciences firm that would move seven jobs to West Palm Beach and add 15 more over the next year, with an average salary of $76,000.

Under the state program, Cell qualifies for $90,000. The city would pay $18,000 in incentives and Florida would pay $72,000, over four years starting in 2019.

Cell would bring a total of $6.25 million in capital investment, including $900,000 in construction or renovations, $4.5 million in manufacturing equipment, $650,000 in research and development equipment and $200,000 in new furniture and computer systems.

In April, the city approved a business incentive grant of up to $100,000 for West Palm Brewing, LLC, as it prepares to open its Steam Horse Brewing Co. in the Warehouse District complex west of Parker Avenue. The city commission up to 10 percent of the cost of building improvements for Steam Horse, up to $1 million.

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