Gov. DeSantis comment a Project Sharp clue

At workforce training announcement, governor says Fidelity “plans to expand here.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the JAX Chamber on Monday to announce plans for a workforce training program.
Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the JAX Chamber on Monday to announce plans for a workforce training program.
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Gov. Ron DeSantis provided another clue that Jacksonville-based Fidelity National Information Services Inc. is Project Sharp, the international services company that wants to build a headquarters and create 500 jobs.

“Mayor, I appreciate all your work here,” DeSantis told Mayor Lenny Curry on Monday at a JAX Chamber event announcing workforce training opportunities.

“I appreciate a lot of the folks who have worked to bring jobs here. I know I talked with the folks from Fidelity about, you know, their plans to expand here,” DeSantis said.

He did not elaborate.

DeSantis was wrapping up his announcement about proposed financial technology – fintech –  workforce training academies and grants when he mentioned the work of local officials in job creation, and referred to Fidelity.

“We’ve had a lot of folks move down here, so that’s a good thing. So, today’s announcement should serve as a signal to people that we appreciate the jobs that have been brought to places like Jacksonville,” DeSantis said.

“We want to continue to expand that, and we want other people looking to invest that right here in Northeast Florida and other parts of Florida, is an awful good place to do it.”

Sharp is the code name given to the “major local employer” that requested confidentiality about its identity and the location it was considering for a $145 million headquarters on the Downtown Northbank.

City Council adopted a resolution Sept. 10 supporting an economic development agreement with the city, the Downtown Investment Authority and Sharp to award $27.5 million in city tax incentives on wages and property taxes and a closing grant.

The state pledges a tax refund of $2.4 million, for a total incentives deal of $29.9 million.

In return, Sharp agrees to create 500 jobs at an average salary of $85,000 a year by June 30, 2029, and build a 300,000-square-foot headquarters, with parking. 

City documents say Sharp also committed to retain its 1,216 Jacksonville jobs, a match to FIS.

FIS has not confirmed it is Sharp. 

The 323 Riverside Ave. riverfront location for Sharp was shown in a DIA document. It is near the Fidelity corporate campus at 601 Riverside Ave.

Fidelity shares the campus with affiliated companies Fidelity National Financial Inc., known as FNF, and Black Knight.

FNF came to Jacksonville from California in 2003 after buying the Alltel Information Services mortgage processing business. FNF spun off FIS in 2006.

FIS appears to need more space.

A Fortune 500 company, FIS completed its $43 billion acquisition of Cincinnati-based Worldpay Inc., which provides payment services to financial institutions, on July 31.

That created a company with more than  $12 billion in annual revenue and 55,000 employees worldwide.

A company spokeswoman previously said FIS expects “we will have continued growth in our Jacksonville-based employee population prompting us to explore multiple options that can accommodate our growth plans.”

The undeveloped Riverside Avenue site is a parking lot used by Florida Blue. The city offers incentives to the insurance company to build a parking deck on city-owned land nearby.

The governor’s office, the city, JAX Chamber and FIS did not immediately respond to requests for comments Tuesday afternoon about the governor’s reference to Fidelity.



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