Florida County okays incentives to space firm Blue Origin
As part of its objective to promote industrial and business activity, Florida County has offered incentives to Blue Origin to make and launch rockets near NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Blue Origin has been promoted by billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder and Chief Executive of Amazon.com. The space center is coming up in Brevard County.
The Commissioners of Brevard County have approved the incentives proposal by four to one voting. The latest round of incentives involves a grant of $8million for the space center project.
With the latest approval of the $8-mn grant, the total incentives offered by state, regional and local authorities reached to $40 million for Blue Origin for executing space center project.
Bezos' visit to Brevard County has been scheduled on 15 of this month. During his visit, Bezos will unveil the project. However, Bezos or his company representatives didn't provide any further information about the project.
The meetings of Space Florida, a state-funded economic development agency, and other business development groups revealed some details in tidbits about the project. The project is called 'Project Panther.'
As part of the 'Project Panther,' Blue Origin will develop a rocket manufacturing unit, for which space is earmarked in an industrial park near NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The rockets made at this center would be operational from the country.
Blue Origin has decided to take launch pad on lease from Space Florida, which is located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This is on the south side of NASA base. The rockets made at Blue Origin manufacturing unit will fly from the leased launch pad.
The new company would hire 330 people. North Brevard Economic Development Zone will provide the grant money to Blue Origin. Brevard Economic Zone utilizes the property tax revenues from new commercial and industrial construction projects in North Brevard. The County Commission has been set up in 2011.
In addition o Blue Origin, Florida County has also earlier okayed incentive plan to Lockheed Martin Corp. The Country Commission also voted for $1.735million grant for Lockheed Martin Corp. North Brevard Economic Development Zone will provide the grant amount to Lockheed, which will set up a 300-staff facility in Titusville.
There's competition in the rocket space also. Blue Origin will have to compete with SpaceX, which is promoted by billionaire technology entrepreneur Elon Musk. SpaceX offers space technology services for private and government departments, which need satellites. SpaceX offers to fly not only satellites but also people to space.
Florida offers encouraging incentives for long-term profitability to all types of business firms right from establishing corporate headquarters or a manufacturing unit.
The incentives include tax refunds on corporate income, sales, ad valorem intangible personal property, insurance premium and so on. There's also a tax refund of $3,000 for every full-time job created.