Published Thursday, April 5, 2018

A confidential aviation/aerospace firm is seeking public incentives to expand its Palm Beach County facility with a $100.4 million capital investment that would create 215 high-paying jobs.

The Palm Beach County Commission will consider the application by “Project Zeus 2” on April 10. If approved, the measure would require a second vote at a later date to finalize the contract, at which time the name of the company would be disclosed.

The firm is seeking a combined $3.05 million in state and local incentives through two programs.

Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, (BDB) said the company is in the aviation/aerospace industry and it would be primarily hiring engineers. It would expand its facility in an unincorporated part of northern Palm Beach County, she said.

That’s an area home to many aviation and aerospace companies, such as Pratt & Whitney, Aerojet, Rockedyne, Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky, and Chromalloy.

Georgia is competing with Palm Beach County for the project, Smallridge added.

Project Zeus 2 would invest $100.4 million to construct a new facility, renovate its existing facility and buy equipment. It pledged to create 215 jobs with average wages of $91,124 over five years.

If the company meets this goal, it could receive tax rebates under the Qualified Target Industries program of $1.2 million from the state and $301,000 from the county over eight years. It’s also seeking a $1.55 million property tax exemption on its new facility spread out over eight years.

According to the county staff memo, the expansion would have a five-year local economic impact of $551 million.

The BDB says the aerospace and aviation industry in Palm Beach employs 17,730 people and has an annual economic impact of $6.78 billion.

The Business Journal wrote a cover story in 2017 on the growth of the aerospace industry in South Florida.

Brian Bandell Senior Reporter

South Florida Business Journal