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Jax Daily Record Friday, Oct. 8, 202104:52 PM EST

100-job marine industry manufacturer wants to bring HQ and plant to Northwest Jacksonville

The unidentified company requests a $250,000 city grant for the $7.4 million investment.
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

An unidentified U.S.-based marine industry products maker and military contractor wants to bring its international headquarters, manufacturing facility and 100 jobs to Northwest Jacksonville.

The code-name Project Fender would build a $7.4 million facility on vacant property in exchange for a $250,000 grant, according to city documents. 

The Office of Economic Development will ask the Mayor’s Budget Review Committee on Oct. 11 to allow legislation with the grant to be sent to City Council. 

A memo and project summary dated Sept. 30 says Fender plans to move its manufacturing operations from other U.S. states to Jacksonville to service existing customers in Florida and the Southeastern U.S.

The summary says the U.S. military is one of Fender’s largest customers and the move is part of a company expansion.

The $7.4 million investment would include a new industrial building, machinery and equipment purchases, according to the documents. 

The company must create 50 jobs at an average wage of $48,000 per year no later than Dec. 31, 2023, to meet the incentive requirements. 

Fender also must invest a minimum of $4 million to qualify.

The Northwest Jacksonville Large Scale Economic Development Grant money would come from the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund.

The summary says the grant is a material factor in Fender’s decision to come to Jacksonville.

The documents do not say what Northwest Jacksonville property Fender is considering.

Economic development officials calculated the city’s return on investment for the incentives would be $3.06 for every $1 spent.

According to the memo, the Northwest Jacksonville Development Fund board approved the incentives at its Sept. 28 meeting. 

If advanced by the budget review committee next week, the legislation and economic development agreement with Fender could be filed with Council as soon as Oct. 20.

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