Expansion projects could bring high-wage jobs to Jacksonville

Published On: Aug 28 2013 12:38:17 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 29 2013 04:09:43 PM EDT

Two expansion projects with the potential to create more than 200 new jobs and have an estimated capital investment of more than $250 million have been approved unanimously by Jacksonville City Council.

The projects are with Vistakon, a division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., and ETC Logistics USA and its subsidiary company Talford-Guyana Argo Industries Inc. Both projects came to council at the request of the city's Office of Economic Development and the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and JAXUSA Partnership.

"We are all working hard and collaboratively to market Jacksonville as a business destination and a city with quality jobs that will continue our trend of lower unemployment," said Mayor Alvin Brown. "These expansions speak volumes about the city's economic momentum. We are thrilled by the decision of Vistakon to expand and locate here. These companies reflect the growing industry diversity of our economy. Our low-tax quality of life and port were cited as factors in this decision."

Both projects are pending approval by the state of Florida.

Jacksonville needed to be globally competitive for the Vistakon project. Baltimore and West Palm Beach were competitors for the ETC Logistics project.

"Vistakon, ETC Logistics USA and subsidiary Talford-Guyana Agro Industries have the potential to contribute to three of our region's targeted industries -- life sciences, manufacturing and logistics -- while adding to the more than 2,600 jobs JAXUSA already announced this year," said Jerry Mallot, JAXUSA Partnership president. "The expansion projects are indicative of our region serving as a leader in these industries."

The Vistakon expansion will potentially create up to 100 new jobs with an annual average salary of $65,000. Its $218 million capital investment could include the installation of new production lines for manufacturing and modification and refurbishing of existing space. If the project is approved, the company will manufacture its latest generation of Acuvue brand contact lenses in Jacksonville.

ETC Logistics USA provides international trade and freight logistics management services and Talford-Guyana Agro Industries provides sustainable agricultural and renewable energy resources in the United States, Central-South America and Africa. Through the agreement with the city, ETC Logistics USA and its subsidiary Talford-Guyana Agro Industries Inc. will create 75 to 100 new jobs during the next three years with an average wage of more than $47,000. The company is making a $39.1 million capital investment.


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