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Cigarmaker Oettinger Davidoff Group to open new U.S. headquarters in Pinellas Park

Lured by incentives and the Tampa Bay area's cigar history, the Oettinger Davidoff Group is moving its new U.S. headquarters to Pinellas Park.

The Swiss cigar importer will begin hiring 90 people in the next six months at an average wage of about $55,000 a year, according to Pinellas County's economic development office. Most of the jobs will be front office and warehouse related.

Oettinger Davidoff makes cigars at plants in the Dominican Republic and Honduras. The company will take over a recently vacated 100,000-square-foot-plus building to house both the headquarters and warehousing and distribution.

Pinellas County officials didn't provide the address, but an industrial site at 3001 Gateway Center Parkway near Interstate 275 is one of the few places in that area that has a facility of that size that is currently vacant.

"By securing this relocation to our area, we also bring new, high-paying jobs and nearly $10 million in capital investments by the company," Pinellas Park Mayor Bill Mischler said in a news release. "This is a huge win for the city of Pinellas Park."

Until the Oettinger Davidoff announcement, the recession had treated Tampa Bay's cigar industry roughly. Altadis, parent of Hav-A-Tampa, closed its Seffner cigar plant last summer, leaving 500 workers without jobs.

State and local government have promised Davidoff tax refunds of $3,000 per job from the Qualified Target Industry Program and an additional $324,000 from the Governor's Quick Action Closing Fund.

South Carolina was Tampa Bay's leading competitor for the headquarters.

"The Tampa Bay area was quickly recognized as a possible location as a result of its long history and rich heritage in the cigar industry," said Davidoff site consultant Oscar Avallone.

The Tampa Bay unemployment rate stood at 12.4 percent in December.

Cigarmaker Oettinger Davidoff Group to open new U.S. headquarters in Pinellas Park 02/01/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 2, 2010 2:41pm]
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