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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Apr. 6, 202105:29 PM EST

St. Johns commissioners preliminarily approve Project Breeze

The motion instructs the county attorney to draft an agreement to be brought back.
by: Katie Garwood Staff Writer

The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 on April 6 to approve a request to draft the Project Breeze economic development agreement. 

The motion instructs the county attorney to draft an economic development grant agreement for the project that will be brought back to the commission.

Commissioner Henry Dean voted against the motion but did not indicate why.

Commissioners Jeremiah Blocker, Christian Whitehurst, Paul Waldron and Jeb Smith voted to approve the motion.

“Job creation and bringing economic opportunity to St. Johns County is crucial,” Blocker said.

Commissioners said that while they approved the motion to draft an agreement, they need more information before approving the final economic development agreement. The unidentified company wants to build a 150,000-square-foot building, known as Building A, to house digital media operations, according to an economic development memo to the board from Deputy County Administrator Joy Andrews.

The applicant expects to invest $100 million into the facility, including land, construction and equipment costs. It requests $13,774,888 in incentives for the new construction.

The project is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2024.

The memo does not say how many jobs the project would create or the average annual wage.

In addition to incentives sought for construction, the company requests that the retained jobs at an existing facility, Building B, be considered. That facility employs 145 people at an average annual wage of $97,000. 

The applicant is seeking $9,605,237 in incentives for the existing facility, amounting to 24 years of ad valorem taxes on capital improvements and business personal property taxes.

Commissioners agreed that the county attorney could draft two agreements, one with Buildings A and B considered as one incentive, and another with Buildings A and B presented as separate incentive agreements.

The county attorney did not say when the economic development agreement draft would be completed.

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