City Council approves $3.3 million in incentives for Project Empire

Company would create 250 jobs for distribution center in West Jacksonville.

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  • | 9:35 p.m. October 23, 2018
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The description of Project Empire describes, but does not identify, Boston-based online home furnishings retailer Wayfair Inc.
The description of Project Empire describes, but does not identify, Boston-based online home furnishings retailer Wayfair Inc.
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 City Council members approved $3.3 million in city-backed financial incentives Tuesday tied to a 1 million-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility being proposed in West Jacksonville.

Project Empire is named in legislation as the unnamed company planning to invest $72 million into space at AllianceFlorida at Cecil Commerce Center to distribute household goods.

Council adopted the legislation 17-0. Council members Joyce Morgan and Scott Wilson were not in attendance.

The company proposes to create 250 full-time jobs by year-end 2021 at an average wage of $33,000 in exchange for a $3.3 million Recapture Enhanced Value grant, payable over 10-years.

The grant is based on the additional property taxes generated by the new project.

The project does require a waiver from the city’s Public Investment Policy because job salaries are not greater than or equal to 100 percent of the state of Florida average wage.

According to legislation, the city requires a minimum $40 million capital investment in the project site by year-end 2020 in order to receive the incentives.

State statutes allow the company described as Project Empire to shield its identity, based on protecting proprietary and confidential information it does not want to be revealed to its competitors.

Boston-based online furnishings retailer Wayfair Inc. appears to match the description of Project Empire. The company is recruiting talent for a Jacksonville distribution center.

The company has job openings for a launch lead, director of operations, senior operations manager, launch supervisor and launch specialists for what it describes as a Large Parcel Home Delivery Operation in Jacksonville.

AllianceFlorida master developer Hillwood is working to develop this space, along with another 1.5 million-square-foot warehouse.

Hillwood plans to pay the city $9,517 an acre for the property for an estimated total of $757,569.

Project Empire, through a lease with Hillwood would pay for the cost of construction and development of the space.



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