Make us your home page
Instagram

State lures mystery company to Melbourne with $21 million in incentives

A mysterious economic development project planned at Melbourne International Airport is going to get nearly $21 million.

A state legislative panel on Tuesday swiftly approved a request by Gov. Rick Scott to spend the money for "Project Magellan."

The approval of the project designated for the airport marks one of the largest single economic development projects approved during Scott's tenure as governor.

Documents from Space Florida, the state's aerospace economic development arm, show that the company that would receive the money is promising to spend up to $500 million on real estate, equipment and furnishings between now and 2020.

The company would also pledge to hire 250 people by the end of 2014, and hundreds more after that, although it's not clear from Space Florida documents when the additional employees would have to be in place. Many of the jobs are supposed to be high paying, with some as high as $100,000 a year.

One group critical of the state's economic development efforts said the state should at least identify the company before approving such a large amount.

"Shouldn't the public at least be told the name of the company before we give away more than $20 million of our money?" said Dan Krassner, executive director of the watchdog group Integrity Florida. "Deals like this hide too much from taxpayers and go against Florida's open-government tradition."

Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and the Senate budget chief, knows the identity of the company and called it a "good deal for Florida and for taxpayers."

Florida legislators this past year set aside nearly $74 million in one of the main economic development pots of money used by Scott and the state's economic development agency.

So far, $33.3 million has been released. The Legislative Budget Commission was required to vote on "Project Magellan" because the economic development award is more than $5 million.

There has been criticism over how many high-profile economic development deals have gone bust.

Just last week it was reported that Time Warner is closing a shared services center in Tampa. In 2011, Scott held a news conference to tout the planned facility. The Tampa Bay Times reported that none of the state incentives promised to Time Warner have been paid out.

State lures mystery company to Melbourne with $21 million in incentives 03/25/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 9:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Appointments at the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and the Straz Center highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Charities

    The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has named Matt Mitchell its new chief executive officer, effective Oct. 16. Selected by the Y's CEO Search Committee following a five-month search, Mitchell will succeed Tom Looby, who is retiring. Looby has served the Y Movement for 37 years, the past 10 …

    The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has named Matt Mitchell as its new Chief Executive Officer. [Handout photo]
  2. Rep. Larry Ahern gets roughed up by Clearwater City Council

    State Roundup

    It seemed innocuous enough: an "end of session report" from state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, to the Clearwater City Council.

    Then Ahern got taken to the woodshed.

    Rep. Larry Ahern is vying for a seat on the Pinellas commission.
  3. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]
  4. Lockdown: Florida's 97,000 prison inmates confined through weekend

    State Roundup

    All of Florida's 97,000 state prison inmates are on lockdown — and will remain confined to their dorms at least through the weekend — in response to unspecified threats about possible uprisings, officials from the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday.

    Blackwater River Correctional Facility. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  5. Carnival announces five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Carnival Cruise Line is adding five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba in 2018, Port Tampa Bay announced Thursday.

      Carnival Cruise Line announced additional cruises to  Cuba. Pictured is its Paradise cruise ship departing on its inaugural voyage to Cuba from Tampa. | [MONICA HERNDON | Times]