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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jun. 13, 201812:23 PM EST

Chicago-based hair products manufacturer Ecoco appears to be Project Blaze

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The company, who makes hair products with cannabis oil, registered its name with the state at an EastPark warehouse address.

Ecoco Inc., a Chicago-based hair products manufacturer, wants to set up a 170,000-square-foot factory in EastPark.

That matches the description of the code-named Project Blaze, the eco-friendly Midwest-based hair-care product maker that seeks city incentives to set up a 150-job plant in EastPark.

Ecoco Jax LLC registered its name with the state in May with a principal address of 11650 Central Parkway. The company also filed an application with the city to do business at the site.

Aaron Tiram, Ecoco president, is the manager. He was not available for comment Wednesday.

His public Facebook page says he lives in Chicago and is from Miami.

Ecoco describes itself on ecocoinc.com as a cosmetics pioneer active with green technology. It was “founded in 1983 with the idea of uniting beauty trends with environmental consciousness,” according to ecocoinc.com.

The site shows its products and natural ingredients, including the Cannabis Sativa Oil wash, conditioner and body lotion.

A city legislative fact sheet said Blaze has been in business since the mid-1980s and it wants to invest $11 million to buy and equip a 170,000-square-foot building off Beach Boulevard in Southside to make and distribute its products.

City Office of Economic Development Executive Director Kirk Wendland told the Mayor’s Budget Review Committee in May the location is in the EastPark business center.

City spokeswoman Tia Ford said Wednesday the city has no information or comment to provide.

Ecoco Inc. says its “globally sourced ingredients are nearly all naturally derived, delivering great personal style without the carbon footprint.”

It says its products are available at most beauty supply stores and many major retailers.

Blaze currently makes its products in the Midwest and is looking for an expansion location in the Southeast, the city said.

Legislation calls for Blaze to create 150 jobs over five years at an average annual wage of $50,000. It seeks a $450,000 Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund from the city and state based on $3,000 per job.

The city would pay 20 percent, or $600, per job for a total up to $90,000. The state would pay 80 percent, or $2,400 per job, for a total of up to $360,000.

The economic development agreement states that 75 jobs would be created by the end of 2018, followed by 25 jobs each by year-end 2019 and 2020 and 15 in 2021. The final 10 jobs would be created by year-end 2022.

The QTI refund would be paid after the jobs are created and the average wage is verified by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The proposed four-year payout would start in 2019.

Blaze receives a manufacturing project waiver from the state Department of Economic Opportunity reducing the minimum average wage requirement from 115 percent to 107.9 percent of the average annual private-sector wage in the state as of Jan. 1, according to the legislation, Resolution 2018-338.

The resolution approves the execution of the economic development agreement between the city and Blaze.

A city summary says the jobs would be created by Dec. 31, 2022, and generate a $7.5 million annual payroll, excluding benefits.

The $11 million capital investment covers manufacturing equipment, furniture and real estate purchases and improvements.

Blaze requests fast-track approval for council to vote on the legislation after two readings rather than three. The bill is in committee review. The next council meeting is June 26.

The city considers the company a high-impact target industry because it is a manufacturer and said Blaze stated the combination of city and state incentives is a material factor in its decision to expand in Jacksonville.

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