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Jax Daily Record Monday, Oct. 11, 202103:40 PM EST

Project Fender could add 100 jobs to 50-person Jacksonville workforce 

City official says the marine industry manufacturer would use a $250,000 grant to build a new facility and headquarters in Northwest Jacksonville. 
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

The city’s chief economic development official says Project Fender, an unidentified U.S.-based marine industry products maker, wants to trade in leased space in Jacksonville and build a manufacturing facility and international headquarters. 

The Mayor’s Budget Review Committee voted 6-0 on Oct. 11 to file legislation with City Council to approve $250,000 in incentives for Fender’s proposed project.

City Office of Economic Development Office Executive Director Kirk Wendland told the board that Fender is evaluating a few locations in Northwest Jacksonville for a possible 120,000-square-foot facility. 

“Through various acquisitions over time they (Fender) have several locations throughout the country, and they’re looking at where they might do some consolidation,” Wendland said.

“So, Jacksonville is one place where they have a facility and we’d certainly like them to consider consolidating here.”

Fender told city officials the 100 jobs it expects to create through facility consolidation would add to its existing Jacksonville workforce of 50 employees, according to Wendland. 

Project Fender would build a $7.4 million facility on vacant property in exchange for the grant from the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund, city documents state. 

The summary says the U.S. military is one of Fender’s largest customers and the company’s investment would include a new industrial building, machinery and equipment purchases.

Fender must create 50 jobs at an average wage of $48,000 per year no later than Dec. 31, 2023, to meet the incentive requirements. 

The company also must invest at least $4 million to qualify.

The documents do not say which property Fender is considering.

Economic development officials calculated the city’s return on investment for the incentives would be $3.06 for every $1 spent.

The Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund board approved the incentives  Sept. 28.

The legislation and economic development agreement with Fender could be filed with Council as soon as Oct. 20.

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