Sorry, Tallahassee... And Columbia...
Piper Aircraft announced Friday it has narrowed the short list
of potential locations to locate its light jet manufacturing
The company eliminated Tallahassee, FL, and Columbia, SC, from
consideration. The three potential locations remaining are Vero
Beach, FL; Albuquerque, NM; and Oklahoma City, OK, according to the
"Despite their strengths, Columbia and Tallahassee did not
compare as favorably as competing cities when we considered some of
our key location criteria, such as a more established aviation
sector and a ready work force," the company said.
There is fierce competition for the plant, which will employ an
estimated 1500 people.
As ANN has reported, the Vero
Beach proposal package tops out at $50 million and includes such
incentives as purchasing Piper's existing facilities and leasing it
back to the company and building a new facility for building the
PiperJet, along with the impact fees associated with the
construction and possibly a reduced utility rate, said Helene
Caseltine, economic development director for the Indian River
County Chamber of Commerce.
New Mexico is just as serious. Acting secretary of economic
development Kelly O'Donnell has said the state has "an arsenal" of
incentives it is authorized to offer including industrial revenue
bonds, a program to provide reimbursement for certain training
costs, and tax credits for providing high wage jobs and on the
value of equipment they bring into the state.
"I will tell you that we are clearly very, very interested in
Piper and we would be delighted if they were to choose New Mexico
as a site for their facility," said O'Donnell. "We feel we present
a very competitive package, and clearly New Mexico is becoming
increasingly desirable as a place to do business."
Vero Beach, Piper's home base since 1957, is pleased with the
announcement. The city council voted unanimously Thursday to
approve a $76.5 million incentive package for Piper, according to
the Treasure Coast Palm.
"We feel pretty good about this and we're certainly very
optimistic," said Vero Beach City Manager Jim Gabbard.
"It's great that we're still in on the list but now it boils
down to our negotiations," Vero Beach Mayor Tom White said.
"This is great news," agreed Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.
"Our team will continue to work closely with Piper officials to
show them how an Oklahoma City location can support their business