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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jul. 12, 201112:00 PM EST

Medtronic, KCI Aviation plan to create 205 jobs


by Karen Brune Mathis

Managing Editor

With just two weeks in office, Mayor Alvin Brown’s call for job creation might be boosted Thursday when the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission considers incentives to create 205 jobs among two targeted industries – medical and aviation services.

The commission is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Thursday at City Hall to consider incentives for Medtronic Xomed Inc. to add 175 jobs at its Southpoint operation and for KCI Aviation of West Virginia to create 30 jobs at Cecil South on land owned by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

In more detail:

• Medtronic, which bought Xomed Surgical Instruments Inc. in 1999, employs more than 600 people in Jacksonville and wants to add 175 more at an average wage of $80,000 and a benefits package of $18,000.

The project, called “Project SciFi,” would involve the construction of a 75,000-square-foot addition for office, research and development, laboratory and customer-training space at its existing operation at 6743 Southpoint Drive N. Medtronic would invest $14.1 million in the project.

Commission staff recommends a $2.53 million package of incentives that would involve $660,000 from the City.

The incentives include a $1.225 million Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund of $7,000 per job, of which the City would refund $245,000, payable after the jobs are created and taxes paid. The state would refund the other $980,000.

The City also would be asked to approve a $415,000 “Revenue Enhanced Value” grant payable after the project is completed and based on the increased property taxes realized by the completed construction.

The state would provide $630,000 from the governor’s “Quick Action Closing Fund” and $262,500 from the state’s “Quick Response Training Program.”

Medtronic is a global company, headquartered in Minneapolis, and bases its Surgical Technologies Division in Jacksonville. Its other major surgical facility is in Fort Worth and Medtronic said it will decide among the two locations for the expansion.

The Jacksonville division designs and makes products for the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose and throat diseases and cranial, spinal and neurologic conditions, according to the commission project summary.

A Jacksonville expansion would be developed in two phases beginning in 2012 and completed in 2015, including 50,000 square feet of office space, 10,000 square feet of auditorium space, 4,000 square feet of research and development laboratories, and 3,000 square feet of customer training labs.

The summary states the project will involve $9.2 million in construction and renovations, $4.4 million in equipment and $500,000 in research and development equipment.

Jobs would be created in three phases: 90 by Dec. 31, 2013; 45 by Dec. 31, 2014; and 40 by Dec. 31, 2015.

The project will create jobs in management, marketing, research and development and general administration, according to the project summary.

• KCI Aviation, based in Bridgeport, W.Va., is evaluating sites for an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility to service, repair and maintain the airframes and engines of small to large cabin midrange business-class jet aircraft, such as the Gulfstream G200 and Bombardier Challenger 300 class, according to the project summary.

KCI proposes to add 30 full-time jobs at an average wage of $45,834.

The positions would be primarily aircraft maintenance and repair technicians.

The company proposes to invest about $500,000 for equipment, systems, furniture and fixtures.

KCI requests a QTI refund with a Brownfield Redevelopment Bonus totaling $165,000, with $33,000 from the City and $132,000 from the state. The refunds would be paid after the jobs are created and the taxes paid.

The project, called “Project Country Road,” is proposed on the flight line of Cecil Airport South in Cecil Commerce Center on property owned by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority. KCI proposes to lease a 22,500-square-foot hangar and a 7,500-square-foot office and administration facility that JAA would construct at an estimated $5.6 million.

KCI said it contemplates a 20-year lease with two five-year renewal options.

The ramp-up to maximum production would take three years, according to the project summary and 10 jobs would be created each year, 2012-2014.

KCI said it was also considering sites in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana for the project.

KCI established a working relationship with Pratt & Whitney Canada and Pratt & Whitney Engine Services of West Virginia to maintain and repair the line of Pratt & Whitney commercial engines, turbofans, turboprops and turbo shafts.

After commission approval, Jacksonville City Council must vote on the projects on behalf of the City incentives.

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