Cape Coral likely to up the ante for jobs
Plan is to draw business with increased incentives
Written by Don Ruane firstname.lastname@example.org
The value of a job created in Cape Coral may go up from a basic $750 to as much as $2,000 for employers who earn an economic incentive from the city.
Cape Coral is updating its cash incentives, which were created in 1998. That and other incentive proposals were well received Monday during a city council workshop.
“We wanted to have these options in our tool box,” said business development coordinator Christy Vogt. “They increase Cape Coral’s competitive edge.”
“This is a wonderful plan. What I like about it is that it’s incremental where something is earned,” said Councilman Bill Deile.
Each project will have to be evaluated and earn its incentive on its own merit, said Councilman Marty McClain.
Staff will review each project to see if it is financially sound and do a cost-benefit analysis to determine if it qualifies for an incentive. Each proposed incentive will need the council’s approval.
Vogt presented a package of incentives for conceptual approval by the council. If adopted later, the city will be able to provide incentives for jobs, waive fees or rebate taxes to attract a business. One or more of the incentives could be used for one project or they could be combined with Lee County’s economic development incentives.
Tax and impact fee rebates already have been approved for the Patriot Plaza project at Pine Island Road and Corbett Road. The project is in the Veterans Investment Zone where the city is trying to encourage new development. The zone covers land within one mile of the Veterans Affairs clinic under construction at Diplomat Parkway and Corbett Road. The $132-million, 4-story clinic is expected to be completed this year and open early in 2012.
The clinic makes the land very attractive to developers because it is a large project that will anchor the area for a long time, said Shawn McIntyre, senior vice president of North American Properties. He added his endorsement of the proposed incentive program.
His company has 118 acres that wrap around the clinic site. The company is working to get the property approvals it needs to begin looking for users who want to be near the clinic and might want to take advantage of the incentives. North American Properties also developed the shopping plazas at Veterans Parkway and Santa Barbara and at Pine Island and Pondella roads.
In a related economic development matter Monday, the council considered the city’s application to abandon the development plan for the Hancock Creek Commercial Park.
Abandoning the plan will advance the city’s goals for the Veterans Investment Zone, said City Manager Gary King.The park is between Pine Island Road and Diplomat Parkway, between Northeast 24th Avenue and Commerce Creek Boulevard.
The 218-acre park originally was approved in 1988 and was to include light manufacturing, warehousing and research and development activities along with some office space. The plans weren’t fulfilled and only 4 percent of the area is developed.
Cape Coral’s proposed economic development incentives:
• $2,000 per new job paying 115 percent of Lee County’s average annual wage of about $37,000; minimum of 10 jobs (5 jobs for smaller businesses).
• $1,500 per job if pay is at Lee County’s average wage; minimum of 10 jobs (5 jobs for smaller businesses).
• Provide utilities without charge.
• Waive building, permit and licensing fees.
• Waive code violation or other fees owed by previous business or developer.
• Waive impact fees (for an 18-month trial period).
• Rebate a portion of property taxes when business meets pre-approved goals for construction time, job creation and wages.
• Land purchase price assistance.
• Waive or defer impact fees for buildings used as a business incubator.