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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 3 years ago

City Council committee OKs incentives for Vistakon, Exquisite Import/Export

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by: David Chapman

City Council’s Finance Committee approved almost $7 million in incentives Tuesday for Vistakon and Exquisite Import/Export Trading Co. to create a combined 225 jobs.

The proposals move Tuesday to the full Council for a final vote.

Vistakon, part of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., would create up to 150 full-time jobs with an average wage of $65,000 plus benefits for an expansion of its manufacturing operation at 7500 Centurion Parkway in Southside.

The company proposes a capital investment of $218 million, which includes building improvements and machinery.

The City would provide a $6.9 million Recapture Enhanced Value grant, which represents 50 percent of the incremental increase in property taxes for 10 years after the completed expansion. The state would provide a $1.5 million Quick Action Closing Fund contribution and a $225,000 Quick Response Training grant among its incentives.

Exquisite Import/Export Trading, which does business as ETC Logistics USA, seeks to relocate its headquarters, warehouse and distribution and logistics center and build-out a facility at the Dames Point Marine Terminal.

The relocation would include hiring of 75 additional full-time employees for $425,000 of incentives. It would receive $225,000 in a Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund, of which the City would pay $45,000 and the state would pay $180,000. It also would receive a state Economic Development Transportation Grant of up to $200,000 for the construction of a rail spur to tie into the CSX Corp. system.

The company started in 1988 as a mom-and-pop operation that handled international freight from Dulles International Airport, Eugene Talford, ETC Logistics president and CEO told the committee.

He said that over time it acquired other entities within the logistics industry and currently imports crude palm oil from about 5,000 acres in Guyana and Suriname to sell to companies and schools. The facility would allow the company to process and refine the product.

Talford said Jacksonville’s climate and a shorter distance made it a more strategic location than other sites along the East Coast. The company also had the ability to build-out a facility in Jacksonville instead of building a new plant.

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