2 businesses expect to bring at least 170 new jobs to Clay County

Julie Morgan

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The Board of County Commissioners approved incentives for two businesses to expand in Clay County.

The Clay County Economic Development Corporation has dubbed one company as Project Gator. Project Gator is the code name for a national advanced manufacturing corporation. At times, the EDC will use a code name to keep the identity of companies confidential.

This business is looking at a $225 million capital investment for phase one of a multi-phase project.

"This will probably be in the top five largest capital investment projects for the state this year," said Crawford Powell, president of EDC.

At least 80 jobs are expected to accompany the construction of a new building and machinery/equipment. The average salary would be between $51,502-$55,333.

Powell said the project could start as soon as the second quarter of 2023, and the expansion would be in the county's northwest corner.

Commissioner Betsy Condon said the rumors are already swirling about the project in the Clay Hill area of her district. She recently attended a meeting where the topic came up, "and there was excitement."

The board approved an economic development grant and a tangible personal property capital investment grant for Project Gator.

The five-member BCC also approved an economic development grant for Project Buzz. This company currently calls Clay County home and is searching for a new space to grow.

The Green Cove Springs-based manufacturing corporation is negotiating to purchase land off US 17, south of the expressway.

Project Buzz will add 90 new jobs with an average salary of $72,784-$84,702.

The company wants to build a new manufacturing facility, "but more importantly, we're retaining these jobs," said Powell.

The current facility is 100,000 square feet, but the business needs a building more than twice that size, 250,000 square feet.

Powell said this is not a done deal for either project but another step in the process.

The ED grant is based on the actual value added to the tax rolls by the property appraiser. The TPPCI grant is based on the tangible personal property tax bill for new capital investment.

"As we give incentives to companies like this to come and settle in Clay County, it's not a free ride. They are still going to be paying quite a bit in terms of ad valorem taxes," said commissioner Mike Cella. "Our incentives, according to most folks that are in the situation that can analyze these, are pretty fair and not over the top. We're not throwing millions of dollars at an Amazon, or a Wayfair like some of our neighbors to the northeast have done and continue to do. We just can't compete with that."

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