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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jan. 17, 201904:35 PM EST

Collins Aerospace approved for North Jacksonville industrial site

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The city issued a permit for Webb Southeast to build-out office space at $982,000.

With a permit in hand, Webb Southeast Corp. can build-out space for Collins Aerospace in North Jacksonville at a project cost of $982,000.

Collins Aerospace, which is the recently joined UTC Aerospace Systems and Rockwell Collins, intends to lease the new building to make parts for clients that include the U.S. Department of Defense.

Formerly called United Technologies Aerospace Systems, the company will rent a 140,833-square-foot warehouse at 10531 Busch Drive N. in Imeson International Industrial Park, according to building plans.

The city issued a permit Thursday for tenant improvements for 14,463 square feet of office space.

Plans say the project will be permitted in two phases.

The first phase comprises office space, restrooms and telephone and data space.

The second phase will be for the systems involved in the manufacturing process. Collins Aerospace will make polyurethane parts for applications for its clients.

Ebert Norman Brady Architects of Jacksonville Beach is the architect.

The deal matches the description of “Project Turtle,” a code-named project. City Council adopted a resolution Jan. 8 for the incentives package.

The unidentified company sought $1.64 million in taxpayer-backed financial incentives to expand its Jacksonville operation and hire 108 more employees.

Project Turtle is described in a project summary as an existing manufacturer with more than 100 current employees in Jacksonville.

It proposes to invest $21.8 million into a new industrial building and to purchase equipment for a facility it is considering in North Jacksonville.

Imeson International Industrial Park owner and landlord Dan Webb previously referred questions to Collins Aerospace. The company had no comment Thursday.

Imeson International Industrial Park is developing the building on 11 acres and can more than double its size if needed.

Collins Aerospace already leases space at 6061 Goodrich Blvd. in North Jacksonville at the Blount Island Marine Terminal. That location formerly was called UTC Aerospace Systems, Engineered Polymer Products (U.S.A.) 

Collins Aerospace was created in 2018. United Technologies completed its acquisition of Rockwell Collins to create Collins Aerospace Systems, with a global presence of 70,000 employees in 300 sites.

The Project Turtle legislation, 2018-859, requested a fast-track reading of two cycles rather than three and it said the company was considering Jacksonville and Southeast Georgia as sites for the project.

The new jobs would pay an average annual wage of $53,298 plus benefits, creating an annual payroll of $5.7 million. The project also will retain 111 jobs.

Project Turtle sought city and state-backed financial incentives for the expansion, comprising a Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund and a Recapture Enhanced Value grant.

To qualify for the QTI grant, the company must hire 108 new employees by year-end 2020.

The QTI refund is $5,000 per job, up to $540,000. The city would refund $1,000 per job, or up to $108,000. The state would be responsible for the remaining $432,000.

The five-year payout would start in 2020 after the average wage and job creation are verified by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The REV grant would refund 50 percent of the increase in the ad valorem taxes paid by the company over the first 10 years of operation, up to $1.1 million.

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