County votes for mystery company to relocate to Southwest Florida
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Apr. 30, 2013 - UPDATED: Apr. 30, 2013
Fort Myers, Fla. - "Their future is bright,” said James Moore of the Fort Myers Regional Partnership. “They have been growing at a nice rate. So their prospects are good and that implies, our prospects are good."
High hopes at a high cost. Lee County commissioners agreed Tuesday to pay a mystery company millions of your taxpayers dollars to hopefully bring business to Southwest Florida. They were trying to convince a Fortune 500 company to set up shop in Lee County by agreeing to pay it $4 million dollars if they come. But with that money comes a promise to bring potentially 700 jobs with an average wage of $102,000 a year. The state has also pledged to kick in potentially upwards of $10 million to sweeten the deal.
“Considering this is a Fortune 500 company, obviously we'd love to have them in Lee County,” said Moore. According to the deal this company will have to spend $46 million dollars of its own money for building and land costs and will have to create at least 300 jobs before taxpayers give them the first $2 million dollar payment.
But only a handful of people know the name of the company. Even the county commissioners who voted today to bring the company here don't know. "Unless the law changes they will have confidentiality if they ask for it," added Moore.
"I do not know who the company is," said Dr. Gary Jackson, the Director of the Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University.
He did the research for the county commissioners so they could vote on whether to award the $4 million dollars to the company without knowing who it is.
"It's a headquarters,” added Jackson. “We're talking about people who are doing logistics and management and all kinds of activities related to basically running a large Fortune 500 corporation."
Currently there are sixteen fortune 500 companies in Florida but only one in Southwest Florida, Health Management Associates, which is based in Naples. There is competition but if Southwest Florida wins, it means jobs......good jobs. "The average estimate was $102,000 (income per year) which is a lot higher than ours,” said Jackson. “Lee County is about $38,000 on average."
The prospectus is for 350 to as many as 700 jobs! And Jackson says that will, in turn, cause over a thousand more jobs to be needed. "It's going to mean more demand for goods and services and additional jobs being created because these people are going to need homes and cars and services and so forth."
There have been rumors that the company is currently based in both New Jersey and Oklahoma. Officials say an answer to who the mystery company is will be revealed by the middle of May.
Copyright, 2013 WFTX