The Clay County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved an incentives award Nov. 22 for Project Gator, separately identified as IKO Industries, to develop a $219 million manufacturing complex off U.S. 301.
Crawford Powell, president of the Clay County Economic Development Corp., told the board the capital investment is expected to be $225 million for the first phase and “we expect that number to grow” with additional phases.
“We are pretty sure this will be in the top five largest capital investments in the state,” Powell said.
The board voted 5-0 to approve an economic development grant and a tangible personal property capital investment grant. The county project summary does not detail the total value of the incentives, but they could be more than $1.72 million.
The incentives will be based on IKO’s investment. Once the improvements and tangible property are added and the county’s tax roll and employment requirements are met, a development agreement will be presented to the board and IKO, according to the project summary.
The summary said the project will create 70 jobs paying at least 101% of the average annual Clay County wage of $42,564.
Powell said the commitment now is 80 jobs and probably will reach “in the low 100s by the time it is said and done.”
IKO was not identified by the commission, but it was disclosed in a St. Johns River Water Management District application for an environmental resource permit for the project.
IKO, a 71-year-old Toronto-based maker of roofing, waterproofing and insulation products for the residential and commercial markets, is working toward construction of an almost 700,000-square-foot manufacturing complex.
The site is 81.2 acres in the northwest corner of the county, east along U.S. 301, at County Road 218 about 10 miles south of Interstate 10.
A conceptual site plan for IKO South shows a 306,476-square-foot ISO (insulation) board manufacturing facility and office, a 265,381-square-foot shingles manufacturing facility, a 102,805-square-foot ice and water manufacturing facility and a 21,184-square-foot processing building next to a granule unloading area.
Powell said the original request for information by the project was in April 2021.
“We are a year and a half into this project and it will be a little while longer,” he said.
“They are still in the due diligence phase.”
He said the incentives award was part of that due diligence.
Powell said the project came from JAXUSA Partnership, the economic development division of JAX Chamber that works with seven Northeast Florida counties, including Clay.
Powell said the project started at a $120 million to $150 million capital investment, 70-100 jobs and 30-50 acres.
He said the property is under a letter of intent for purchase.
“They are still in negotiation and discussion,” he told the board.
“This is just the next phase for your support.”
Powell said if the deal goes forward, the project will start construction in the first or second quarter of 2023.
Commissioners said there is a sunset clause on the grants and the project would be in place long after the incentives conclude.
The economic development grant is for 15 years and the tangible personal property grant is for three years.
The project, as shown in the water management district application, includes the main manufacturing building, hot oil room, granule silos building, filler silo and product warehouse as well as an oxidizer plant, crushing plant and spur railways.
It also includes storage, stockpile, loading and offloading areas along with roadways and utility and stormwater infrastructure.
IKO.com says the family-owned company is a worldwide leader in the roofing, waterproofing and insulation industry for residential and commercial markets.
It operates more than 35 manufacturing plants throughout North America and Europe.
IKO South Inc. registered with the state Jan. 25, 2022.
In North America, its headquarters is in Brampton, Ontario.
Its U.S. headquarters are in Wilmington, Delaware.
Derek Fee, manager of corporate communications for IKO Group of Companies, said by email Nov. 21 there was not a lot to say yet.
“At the present time, it’s my understanding that we have not concluded any negotiations related to the construction of a site in Clay County,” Fee said.
“As a result, it’s likely premature to discuss the subject in any detail. If, as we hope, things do come to a favorable conclusion to the negotiations, I’d be happy to talk to you about it at that point.”