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Tractor-maker Zetor seeks incentives for Jacksonville HQ

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Zetor North America Inc. has requested $40,000 in City and state incentives to relocate its headquarters, warehouse and distribution center from Harrisburg, Pa., to South Jacksonville, adding three jobs to its staff of seven.

This morning, the www.zetorna.com site's home page announced "New North American Headquarters. A major part of a multi-year expansion plan is to relocate the company to Jacksonville, Fl. The new warehouse and offices should be up a running by the first week in December!"

The City Office of Economic Development is asking City Council to approve a Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund for the agricultural equipment manufacturer to bring seven jobs to Jacksonville and add three more by the end of 2013, according to a summary for "Project Tractor."

The legislation, Ordinance 2012-676, calls for the City to pay 20 percent of the incentives, or up to $8,000, and the state would pay the remaining $32,000.

The 10 jobs qualify for a tax refund of $4,000 each, based on Zetor's qualification as a targeted industry — a headquarters — and its average salary of no less than $60,833, which is equal to 150 percent of the state average, according to the summary.

Zetor North America is a subsidiary of Zetor SA, a manufacturer of agricultural tractors and implements based in the Czech Republic, the summary says.

Zetor North America said it was evaluating the relocation and expansion of its corporate headquarters, warehouse and distribution operation in Jacksonville or Charleston, S.C.

It said the average wage of the employees is $64,000 a year plus benefits. Zetor North America imports tractors, loaders, agricultural implements and related products for distribution to dealers in the United States and Canada. The distribution center would stock replacement parts, too, the summary said.

The project summary said if the incentives are approved, Zetor will relocate and expand within the first quarter of 2013 and complete the expansion by Dec. 31.

Zetor estimates it would invest $100,000 this year and next year for the purchase of additional machinery, equipment, furniture, fixtures and infrastructure.

Zetor said Jacksonville was the preferred location because of its transportation system.

The legislation is being introduced Tuesday to Council.

L&J Diesel incentives

L&J Diesel Services Inc. seeks a $200,000 Countywide Economic Development loan to expand in Jacksonville, according to City Ordinance 2012-682, to be introduced Tuesday.

The company has committed to create 20 permanent full-time equivalent new jobs at an average salary, not including benefits, of about $39,856 a year. The jobs would be created by Dec. 31, 2015, according to the ordinance.

The Daily Record reported in September Jacksonville-based L&J Diesel Service Inc. (the name on its website) would seek City assistance to expand its business.

The company specializes in fuel injection innovation and manufacturing in the diesel industry. The expansion was described as a move from its 4,000-square-foot facility at 5323 Lenox Ave. to a two-story, 70,000-square-foot building at 3333 Lenox Ave., the former Barnett Brass & Copper building.

L&J owner Omar Cueto and engineer Syd Azhar said in September the expansion could generate 50-200 new jobs, depending on the types of contracts the company receives. No job count appears to be associated with the City ordinance.

The Daily Record reported L&J specializes in testing, producing and manufacturing diesel fuel injectors that use patented light and fiber-optics components for greater efficiency.

"Nobody in North America has quite the elements we have," Cueto said.

In a presentation to district Council member Warren Jones and Council members John Crescimbeni and Bill Gulliford, Cueto said in September he was working with Office of Economic Development Acting Director Paul Crawford and the City on a grant to help the expansion.

He said the relocation site was in an Enterprise and Empowerment Zone and also in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone, a Small Business Administration area that "helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities," according to the administration's website.

More business news

• Gilmon's Bakery recently filed under the state's Fictitious Name Law to operate at 11362-13 San Jose Blvd. and was registered by Bold Faith LLC, whose managers are Gerri D. and Dwayne E. Kinsey.

• DD's Discounts filed under the Florida Fictitious Name Law to do business at 6310 103rd St. and was registered by Ross Dress for Less Inc.

• The City approved build-out for REI — Recreational Equipment Inc. — at 4862 Big Island Drive in St. Johns Town Center. The contractor for the almost 24,000-square-foot store is Tri-North Builders and the project cost is $689,450.

• Demolition was approved for Waffle House at 4271 Roosevelt Blvd. and 4453 Irvington Ave. The contractor is Burkhalter Wrecking Inc. Waffle House plans to rebuild.

Weekly conventions

Visit Jacksonville reports several events are booked this week and next, bringing more than 1,200 delegates to Northeast Florida. Events include:

• Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc., Commission Conference, today-Sunday, Hyatt Downtown, 1,200 delegates.

• University of Florida College of Medicine Jacksonville Department of Pediatric, residency interviews, today-Tuesday, Hilton Garden Inn Jacksonville Downtown, Southbank, 12 delegates.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

356-2466

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