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Jax Daily Record Friday, Aug. 8, 201412:00 PM EST

Jax Apex Technology is 'popping out of the seams'

by: David Chapman

An engineering company founded in Jacksonville Beach is growing at home.

Jax Apex Technology Inc. wants to build a 15,000-square-foot corporate headquarters and expand locally.

Legislation for the deal between the city and the company’s parent company, Belit Inc., would provide the company $180,000 to stay in Jacksonville. The company would expand from 27 employees to 87 through the end of 2019. The average wage of the new jobs is $56,750, with an additional $3,200 for benefits.

“We’re popping out of the seams,” said Michael Kozlowski, Jax Apex president. “We’ve grown really fast here.”

Founded in 1996, the company provides structural engineering services for the light-frame construction industry. Kozlowski said that refers to structures fewer than five stories, such as houses, apartment buildings and light commercial.

Homebuilders are a large part of the company’s business, he said, and business has been up with the housing market and economic recoveries. Combined with fiscal prudence during those times and quick recruiting, he said, the company remained in good shape.

“It was a rollercoaster,” he said of the ups and downs in the past 15 years.

The company’s corporate office is at 4745 Sutton Park Court, near Butler and Hodges boulevards. According to the project summary, the company is estimated to spend $5.4 million in capital investment.

Broken down, $1 million is slated for land acquisition, another $3.5 million for building construction and $900,000 is for purchasing machinery and equipment.

The location wasn’t listed in the legislation because a site hasn’t been selected. Kozlowski said the site of the new headquarters would likely be in the Intracoastal West or Beaches areas.

The company also has a mid-Atlantic office in Frederick, Md., and one in Tampa.

Future expansions aren’t out of the question and would be based on needs.

As for the incentives, the city would pay $36,000, while the state pays $144,000.

Baltimore, Atlanta and Tampa are all in competition for the corporate headquarters, according to a project summary, but Kozlowski said Jacksonville was the selection.

“This is a great example of a successful, homegrown, hometown company that’s investing in Jacksonville and adding good-paying career jobs in the engineering field,” Mayor Alvin Brown said in a news release.

The 60 new jobs would be structural engineers, engineering technicians and computer-aided design operators.

Kozlowski said this year the company expanded its recruiting to include top graduates from Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, the University of South Florida, Wisconsin, the University of North Florida and the University of Florida.

Legislation for the deal will be introduced Tuesday to the full City Council.

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