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Jax Daily Record Friday, Aug. 4, 201707:00 AM EST

Distillery, Project Milan funding moves to City Council

Money would boost jobs, install water line
by: David Cawton Associate Editor

This week, two pieces of legislation passed through City Council committees. Both involved the financial backing of private businesses.

The first, known officially as “Project Milan,” would allocate a $700,000 Recapture Enhanced Value grant to a “leader in the health care industry” to expand its Jacksonville operation and to hire at least 10 new employees.

At Tuesday’s finance committee, Kirk Wendland, executive director of the Office of Economic Development, remained quiet about the company’s identity, saying he couldn’t go into too much detail in the public setting.

San Francisco-based McKesson Corp., which leases office space in Jacksonville, seems to match the profile of what’s described in legislation for the incentives package.  

If approved, Milan plans to invest $28.5 million into a new Class A office building in South Jacksonville in exchange for a break in property taxes.

The REV grant represents 50 percent of the ad valorem tax liability that would be due on the capital improvements.

Wendland said while the cap is $700,000 over 10 years, he estimates that Milan would reach that within six years.

Also making the rounds through the committees was an $86,000 package to help Four Fathers Distillery complete its Northwest Jacksonville operation at 2917 Borden St.  

Four Fathers is asking the city for a $25,000 Northwest Jacksonville Business Infrastructure Grant to install a new 6-inch water line, and a $61,000 loan from the Jacksonville Economic Development Fund to pay for a new fire-suppression sprinkler system.

Wendland said the distillery’s owners, Tim Daniels and Dan Jones, already have invested more than $520,000 into the building and equipment.

Council member Lori Boyer said it was a good example of how the city should be helping private investors start their businesses, “by providing infrastructure that didn’t exist.”

“You can’t get people to redevelop property if the water line doesn’t exist,” Boyer said. “As we go forward, this is an example of the type of things we need to think about.”

Both matters will be up for approval at the next council meeting Aug. 8.


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