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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, May 13, 202011:27 AM EST

Council approves incentives for Project Kodiak, delays land swap

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New York City-based firm seeking $480,000 from city and state to create 80 full-time jobs.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

The Jacksonville City Council on May 12 unanimously approved financial incentives for a New York City-based firm and delayed final approval on a land swap deal with Chase Properties Inc.

Project Kodiak

Council voted 19-0 to approve a $480,000 city- and state-backed incentives agreement with an international financial services firm that wants to open a Jacksonville office.

Code-named Project Kodiak plans to create 80 full-time jobs with an average annual salary of $74,209 and invest $1.2 million in real estate and office improvements in Jacksonville, according to Resolution 2020-0226 approved by Council.

Kodiak seeks $480,000 from the state’s Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program, $6,000 per job. 

If the deal is signed by Mayor Lenny Curry, the city would pay 20%, or up to $96,000, of the QTI rebate. That’s $1,200 per job. Up to $384,000 of the tax refund, or 80%, would come from the state at $4,800 per job.

A project summary from the city Office of Economic Development says the 80 jobs could have an annual payroll of $5.9 million, excluding employee benefits.

The economic development office documents included in the bill say Kodiak will create the jobs no later than Dec. 31, 2021. Kodiak is described as a financial services company also considering other Southern U.S. states for the office.

The Council unanimously approved an amendment May 12 that corrects the job creation deadline written in the bill from Dec. 31, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2021.

The company’s Jacksonville office would handle some of its international securities processing activities.

Kodiak’s wages will have to be verified by regulators in the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity before the four-year QTI payout could begin in 2022.

The parcels in the land swap deal.

Mandarin land swap

A new wetland survey delayed final Council approval of the proposed land swap deal between the city and Chase Properties Inc. to open 2.37 acres in the Goodbys Creek Preserve for retail development along San Jose Boulevard.

Council voted unanimously May 12 to postpone Ordinance 2020-0148 that swaps the land for 52 acres of environmentally sensitive wetland adjacent to Goodbys Creek.

Two companion bills, Ordinances 2020-0092 and 2020-0093, will return to the Land Use and Zoning Committee for another vote. The bills change the parcel’s land use and rezone the property from conservation to neighborhood commercial.

City Planning and Development Director Bill Killingsworth told Council his department wants to review the new wetland survey submitted by Chase Properties.

The 52 acres Chase Properties would give the city is under contract with private owners Edward and Darla Willmott of Hillard. Chase Properties CEO Mike Balanky said May 5 his company is working toward final closing.

According to Duval County property records, the Willmotts purchased the land in two separate parcels for $200 on Feb. 17, 2009.

Balanky’s plans for the San Jose Boulevard property include a “boutique-type” retail concept, he told the Daily Record on May 5.

The 52 acres will require a land use amendment to change from low density residential to conservation.  

The city acquired the 35.15-acre Goodbys Creek Preserve from The Trust for Public Land in 2002 for $505,000, or $14,367 per acre. 

City officials aid Chase Properties has not asked the city for financial incentives for the project. 

The Council committee will consider the bills again at its May 19 meeting, expected to be held via the Zoom videoconferencing platform. 

 

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