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Jax Daily Record Monday, May 24, 202106:41 PM EST

$21 million Dun & Bradstreet incentives deal advances to Council

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City economic development executive says the headquarters recruitment process was “highly competitive.”
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

A $21 million incentives package to bring Dun & Bradstreet Corp.’s headquarters to Jacksonville is moving on to City Council. 

The Mayor’s Budget Review Committee voted 7-0 on May 24 to file legislation that would authorize three grants meant to secure the international financial services and data management firm’s move from Short Hills, New Jersey. 

Dun & Bradstreet CEO Anthony Jabbour, who also leads Jacksonville-based Black Knight Inc., announced May 20 the company’s intent to relocate its headquarters and create 500 full-time jobs in Northeast Florida. 

Kirk Wendland, the city’s economic development executive director, told the board the “highly competitive” recruitment process for Dun & Bradstreet pushed his office to offer incentives that will require the Council to waive public investment policy rules.

“The incentive package requires that we put some things on the table that are not currently contemplated in the public investment policy,” he said. 

“This is a significant investment on our part but this is, essentially, what the market is for this type of highly sought-after project.”  

  According to a May 20 memo from Wendland, the taxpayer-backed benefits include a: 

• $12 million Headquarters Retention Grant paid in $600,000 increments over 20 years. 

• $6 million Relocation Grant paid over three years.

• $3 million Target Industry Grant at $6,000 per job paid in $1,500 increments over four years.

The state is committing a $4 million High Impact Performance Incentive Grant to the project, boosting the assistance to $25 million.

Dun & Bradstreet CEO Anthony Jabbour and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

Florida and Jacksonville taxpayers are paying about one-third of Dun & Bradstreet’s estimated $75 million capital investment in the project.

Wendland’s memo said the company was considering other U.S. cities for the project. Before the vote May 24, city Chief Administrative Officer Brian Hughes said recruiting the Dun & Bradstreet “was not a slam dunk.”

Hughes chairs the budget review committee, which comprises Mayor Lenny Curry’s department heads. 

According to Wendland’s memo to Hughes, the incentives package gives Duval County taxpayers a return on investment of 49 cents for every $1 invested.

“Bringing a world-renowned headquarters to Jacksonville significantly enhances our status in the financial services sector and has the potential for secondary and tertiary benefits that greatly elevate the conservative ROI as shown,” the memo says.

Dun & Bradstreet told the city the jobs, at an average annual wage of $77,000, would create a $38.5 million annual payroll excluding benefits.

The company will acquire an existing office facility, according to Wendland. Jabbour said May 20 the company still is evaluating locations.

Wendland did not define whether “acquire” means buy or lease.

Black Knight’s offices are headquartered along Riverside Avenue in Downtown’s Brooklyn neighborhood. 

That building also houses Fidelity National Information Services Inc.’s headquarters. FIS, as it is known, is building a $156 million headquarters nearby along Riverside Avenue and will relocate there. 

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