Council approves incentives for Medtronic, KCI Enterprises

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

City Council approved two economic development projects Tuesday, one for Medtronic Xomed and the other for KCI Enterprises Inc.

Council members Clay Yarborough and Kimberly Daniels cast the dissenting votes on each.

Council authorized an economic development agreement between the City, the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission and Medtronic Xomed Inc.

It calls for a City investment of $660,000 as part of a package of City and state incentives for the company to create 175 jobs in a Southside expansion.

The City’s commitment is a $245,000 refund as part of the Qualified Target Industry tax refund program along with a $415,000 Recapture Enhanced Value grant for the company’s property improvements.

It’s part of a total package of $2.53 million of City and state incentives.

Medtronic, which bought Xomed Surgical Instruments Inc. in 1999, employs more than 600 people in Jacksonville and wants to add 175 more at an average wage of $80,000 and a benefits package of $18,000.

The project would involve the construction of a 75,000-square-foot addition for office, research and development, laboratory and customer-training space at its existing operation at 6743 Southpoint Drive N. Medtronic would invest $14.1 million in the project.

The incentives include a $1.225 million Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund of $7,000 per job, of which the City would refund $245,000, payable after the jobs are created and taxes paid. The state would refund the other $980,000.

The $415,000 Revenue Enhanced Value grant is payable after the project is completed and based on the increased property taxes realized by the completed construction.

The state would provide $630,000 from the governor’s “Quick Action Closing Fund” and $262,500 from the state’s “Quick Response Training Program.”

Medtronic is a global company, headquartered in Minneapolis, and bases its Surgical Technologies Division in Jacksonville. Its other major surgical facility is in Fort Worth, Texas, which the company said was a contender for the expansion.

The Jacksonville division designs and manufactures products for the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose and throat diseases and cranial, spinal and neurologic conditions, according to a JEDC project summary.

A Jacksonville expansion would be developed in two phases beginning in 2012 and completed in 2015, including 50,000 square feet of office space, 10,000 square feet of auditorium space, 4,000 square feet of research and development laboratories, and 3,000 square feet of customer training labs.

The JEDC summary said the project will involve $9.2 million in construction and renovations, $4.4 million in equipment and $500,000 in research and development equipment.

Jobs would be created in three phases: 90 by Dec. 31, 2013; 45 by Dec. 31, 2014; and 40 by Dec. 31, 2015.

The project will create jobs in management, marketing, re-search and development and general administration, according to the project summary.

For KCI Enterprises, Council authorized an economic development agreement with the City, the JEDC and KCI for KCI to set up an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Cecil Airport.

The City would provide a $33,000 Qualified Target Industry tax refund, along with a state refund, for creation of 30 jobs.

KCI Aviation, based in Bridgeport, W.Va., is evaluating sites for a facility to service, repair and maintain the airframes and engines of small to large cabin midrange business-class jet aircraft, such as the Gulfstream G200 and Bombardier Challenger 300 class, according to a JEDC project summary.

KCI proposes to add 30 full-time jobs at an average wage of $45,834.

The positions would be primarily aircraft maintenance and repair technicians.

The company proposes to invest about $500,000 for equipment, systems, furniture and fixtures.

KCI requested a QTI refund with a Brownfield Redevelopment Bonus totaling $165,000, with $33,000 from the City and $132,000 from the state. The refunds would be paid after the jobs are created and the taxes paid.

The project is proposed on the flight line of Cecil Airport South in Cecil Commerce Center on property owned by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

KCI proposes to lease a 22,500-square-foot hangar and a 7,500-square-foot office and administration facility that JAA would construct at an estimated cost of $5.6 million.

KCI said it contemplates a 20-year lease with two five-year renewal options.

The ramp-up to maximum production would take three years, according to the project summary, and 10 jobs would be created each year, 2012-2014.

KCI said other sites in contention for the project are in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana.

KCI established a working relationship with Pratt & Whitney Canada and Pratt & Whitney Engine Services of West Virginia to maintain and repair the line of Pratt & Whitney commercial engines, turbofans, turboprops and turbo shafts.

Among other projects, Council approved a fair share assessment of $157,823 with Millennium Venture Group Inc. for a Dollar General store on 1.2 acres at 10171 New Kings Road.

Also at the Council meeting, Vice President Bill Bishop issued a reminder about scheduled public hearings for the redistricting plan that will redraw lines for 14 Council districts, five Council at-large districts and seven school board districts.

The meetings start at 6 p.m. and will be today at the Florida State College at Jacksonville North Campus; Thursday at the FSCJ Kent Campus; Monday at the FSCJ South Campus; and Sept. 1 at the FSCJ Deerwood Campus.

Council members also had other matters on their minds earlier Tuesday.

City Hall was evacuated for more than three hours Tuesday morning after a suspicious package was found in a City mail room. It turned out to contain LED light bulbs, but triggered concern when it was examined in the mail room.

According to Daily Record news partner WJXT TV-4, police said the bomb squad took the device to a secure location, and then City Hall was searched to make sure there were no other devices.

“It was X-rayed here at City Hall and brought to the attention of someone that they were concerned about what that image looked like,” Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Director John Hartley said. “So when we saw the image, we were concerned, too, until we could take it somewhere else and better view it and see what it was.”, 356-2466



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