Space Florida moves forward on jobs, landing facility projects

The group approved agreements to move forward with two mystery projects designed to bring 150 jobs to Florida.

The board of Space Florida, the state’s agency dedicated to boosting the aerospace industry, has approved nearly $60 million for improvements to the Launch Landing Facility (LLF) and agreed to move forward with solicitations for vendors on two other mystery projects designed to bring dozens of jobs.

The $58.8 million approved was an expansion of a previous agreement to put $41.4 million toward development of the LLF, which NASA awarded to Space Florida to manage and operate in 2013. The money will go to several vendors involved in the project: The Middlesex Corporation, BRPH Engineers Architects, Inc., Michael Baker International, Inc., RUSH Construction, Inc., and Neoverde Holdings, LLC.

Space Florida’s board, chaired by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, moved ahead with two other projects in which unnamed companies are poised to invest millions and create jobs in exchange for tax incentives as well.

For “Project Davinci,” the board approved solicitation for architectural, engineering and construction administration and construction manager to help with the design of an equipment facility in Santa Rosa County. Up to $2.1 million was approved for the contracts. The company involved in that project plans to spend $40 million to create 50 jobs by 2025 that pay an average of $80,000 per year.

And for “Project Constitution” the board OK’d a consent agreement with Airbus OneWeb Satellites Florida as part of a deal to bring 100 jobs to the Space Coast. In February, the board approved an agreement to find financing for lease and sublease agreements, construction and equipment purchases for up to $60 million. The plan is for the unnamed company to spend $90 million on construction, high-value equipment and engineering development, creating 100 jobs by 2025 with an average annual wage of $100,000.

Space Florida helps aerospace companies secure financing and tax deferments and breaks to entice them to expand and move to Florida. The group received $12.5 million in the current budget.

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