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Cape EDO unveils incentives package

By Staff | Feb 1, 2011

Cape Coral’s Economic Development Office is looking at ways to tweak their incentive package, hoping to lure businesses to Cape Coral or entice existing businesses to stay and expand.
Ideas include waiving impact fees across the board for 18 months, or waiving the impact fees for change of use, a program EDO officials say is already in effect in Bonita Springs and Collier County.
They also suggest bumping the existing cash incentives for job creation, hoping it would attract higher wage, higher skill jobs to the city.
Currently, companies receive $750 per job if they lease an existing building, $1,000 per job if they purchase an existing building and $1,500 per job if they construct a new building.
They want to see $2,000 per job for jobs that match 115 percent of the county’s average wage and $1,500 for 100 percent of the county’s average wage.
EDO’s Christy Vogt said those new job creation incentives would be limited to five jobs.
“If they want to grow, that’s great, but let’s start with five,” she said.
A tax increment development incentive is already in the pipeline, as developers of the forthcoming Patriot Plaza plan on taking advantage of the benefit.
“This is a good thing … (developers) are figuring out how to finance their projects,” Vogt added.
Assistant City Manager Carl Schwing said the office’s efforts have helped one Cape Coral business decide to expand in the city.
Due to confidentiality, the name of the company could not be divulged, but Schwing said the company was looking at other locations beside the Cape before deciding to stay here.
“They were looking to expand in the Midwest or California or here, they chose here,” Schwing said. “They were weighing the pros and cons, and staying here made sense to them.”
The city is trying to rebrand itself as a business friendly enclave, where potential new business will essentially be able to design their own incentive package.
Councilmember Pete Brandt said it is crucial to keep that message out there.
“I hope potential businesses are listening to this,” he said. “Understand we’re continuing to reach out and be business friendly.”
Councilmember Kevin McGrail thinks the city will continue to attract medical and mixed use facilities, especially with the advent of the Veterans Investment Zone, which surrounds the forthcoming VA Clinic.
Medical industry jobs can pay off big time for families, McGrail said.
“Medical is a target industry for this city. It employed me for 30 years and put two kids through college,” he said.