Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mystery project at Melbourne airport may get millions from Florida

TALLAHASSEE — A mysterious economic development project planned at an airport on Florida's east coast may 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 Melbourne International 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 at least 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.

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."

Last year, defense contractor Northrop Grumman announced it was bringing more than 1,000 aerospace jobs to the state including in Melbourne.

A Northrop Grumman spokesman told Florida Today last week that he couldn't say whether his company's new building was connected with Project Magellan.

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.

Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, said he voted for the project because he had decided to trust the state economic development team's assessment that it would yield jobs for the state.

Mystery project at Melbourne airport may get millions from Florida 03/25/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 10:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Search for missing Army helicopter crew suspended in Hawaii

    Military

    HONOLULU — Officials have suspended the search for five Army soldiers who were aboard a helicopter that crashed during offshore training in Hawaii last week.

    Water safety officials hand over possible debris from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash to military personnel stationed at a command center in a harbor, Wednesday in Haleiwa, Hawaii, a day after. an Army helicopter with five on board crashed several miles off Oahu's North Shore. Officials  suspended the search for five Army soldiers in a helicopter crash during offshore training in Hawaii on Monday. [Associated Press]
  2. Rubio praises Trump for 'excellent' speech on Afghanistan

    Blogs

    Sen. Marco Rubio praised President Donald Trump's "excellent" speech on Afghanistan. Sen. Bill Nelson was less effusive but agreed with the goal.

  3. Gov. Rick Scott blasts report of shifting words on Charlottesville

    Blogs

    Gov. Rick Scott, one of the most scripted politicians in modern Florida history, said Monday that "both sides” bear blame for Charlottesville.

  4. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer

    Nation

    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  5. Search under way for missing sailors; Navy chief orders inquiry

    Military

    SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.

    Damage is visible as the USS John S. McCain steers toward Singapore’s naval base on Monday.