Chances of Northeast Florida landing automated vehicle plant estimated at 50-50

The Mayor’s Budget Review Committee advanced legislation for $7.7 million in city incentives for the code-named Project Link.

  • By Ric Anderson
  • | 5:30 p.m. April 8, 2024
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
Project Link is an undisclosed company seeking to manufacture parts and assemble an electric autonomous vehicle in Jacksonville.
Project Link is an undisclosed company seeking to manufacture parts and assemble an electric autonomous vehicle in Jacksonville.
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The city’s top economic development administrator said he believes Jacksonville has at least a 50-50 chance of landing Project Link, the city’s code name for an undisclosed company seeking incentives to manufacture parts and assemble electric autonomous vehicles in Northeast Florida.

Ed Randolph, executive director of the Office of Economic Development, told members of the Mayor’s Budget Review Committee on April 8 that the company was looking at sites in a few other states in the Southeast for its operation. 

Ed Randolph

An OED summary describes Project Link as a $100 million capital investment for a 450,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to be built on 40 acres. It would be completed no later than Dec. 31, 2026.

Randolph sought the MBRC’s approval for legislation offering a total of $7.7 million in city incentives comprising $7.5 million in Recapture Enhanced Value Grant funding over 10 years and a training grant of up to $200,000. A REV grant is a refund on ad valorem tax revenue generated by a new development. 

The MBRC voted to advance the legislation to the City Council. 

Randolph said Northeast Florida faces some headwinds in that the plant would be a “newer-type operation” for the region versus the other states, where the industry has already expanded. Those states have advantages such as a trained workforce and an established supply chain, which could prompt the manufacturer to follow what Randolph described as “kind of a herd mentality” and locate somewhere other than Northeast Florida. 

He said he hoped an announcement on the plant would be coming in 60 to 90 days.

In addition to the city incentives, the company is seeking an $8 million High-Impact Performance Incentive and a Capital Investment Tax Credit covering 100% of the state corporate tax liability. That amount was not disclosed.

The OED summary says the plant would employ 145 workers no later than Dec. 31, 2027, increasing to 200 as demand increases. Payroll is expected to be more than $9 million annually, exclusive of benefits. The company does not have a presence in the U.S.



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