Incentive package for $100 million autonomous vehicle plant clears Jacksonville City Council

The company, code-named Project Link, appears to be Holon, a brand spun off from Germany-based Benteler Automotive Group.

  • By Ric Anderson
  • | 9:02 p.m. June 11, 2024
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
The Holon Mover is an autonomous electric vehicle with a top speed of 37 mph. It has seating for up to 15 passengers.
The Holon Mover is an autonomous electric vehicle with a top speed of 37 mph. It has seating for up to 15 passengers.
  • Government
  • Share

The Jacksonville City Council agreed June 11 to offer $7.7 million in incentives to an autonomous vehicle company to build a manufacturing and assembly plant in the city. 

The 18-1 Council vote approved incentives for Project Link, the company’s code name in city documents, to construct a $100 million, 450,000-square-foot plant on about 40 acres in Northwest Jacksonville. The sole no vote came from Council member Rory Diamond. The vote constituted final approval of the package.

The Daily Record reported April 10 that Project Link appears to be Holon, an automotive brand spun off from Germany-based Benteler Automotive Group. The company’s Holon Mover is an autonomous, fully electric vehicle that was presented in early 2023 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The exterior of the 12-passenger all-electric Holon automated people mover on display May 31 at JTA's National Automated Vehicle Day event at its Armsdale Test & Learn facility in Northwest Jacksonville.

Resolution 2024-0419, the legislation containing the incentive package, provides a $7.5 million Recapture Enhanced Value Grant paid out over 10 years and a local training grant of up to $200,000 for the project.

A REV grant is a refund on ad valorem tax revenue generated by a new development.

According to a city Office of Economic Development fact sheet, the company would employ a minimum of 145 workers at the site and possibly as many as 200. The training grant is based on a rate of $1,000 per job. 

Payroll would exceed $9 million exclusive of benefits. 

The fact sheet says the state of Florida has committed an $8 million High-Impact Performance Incentive award and a Capital Investment Tax Credit that will cover 100% of the state Corporate Tax Liability for the project. 

Benteler said in a 2023 news release that production is scheduled to start in the U.S. in late 2025, with additional production capacity to be built in Europe and the Middle East/Asia in the following years. The company later changed that date to 2026.

The fact sheet says Project Link is considering sites elsewhere in Florida and in other states. 

Ed Randolph, executive director of the Office of Economic Development, told the Mayor’s Budget Review Committee on April 8 that he believed Jacksonville has at least a 50-50 chance of landing the plant. The company plans to manufacture parts and assemble vehicles in the facility, according to the fact sheet.

The term “holon,” pronounced hollen, is a Greek word for “something that is both a whole and a part of a whole.”



Special Offer: $5 for 2 Months!

Your free article limit has been reached this month.
Subscribe now for unlimited digital access to our award-winning business news.