Flagler County is seeking state grant money to add a 100,000-square-foot industrial building near the county airport in a bid to attract companies that could create local jobs. The facility would cost an estimated $10.4 million, or $104 per square foot.
Adding it, county Economic Development Executive Director Helga van Eckert said during an Aug. 20 County Commission workshop, "increases our economic resiliency and recovery. ... The more companies you have in the community, the more resilient you are."
The new building, she said, would serve as an anchor tenant at the airport industrial park. The county would use mostly state money to build it — leasing land from the airport — recruit a company to inhabit it, lease out the building at market rate and create an apprenticeship program in partnership with the company.
"You really just haven’t had an industrial development presence at all, and I think we’re trying to reverse that trend," County Administrator Craig Coffey said at the workshop.
Revenue from leasing the building, van Eckert said, would also provide the county with a revenue stream for future economic development projects.
The county has applied for a Florida Jobs Growth Grant and for an Economic Development Authority Grant for the project.
Depending on the grant award, the county might have to pay 20-50% of the cost.
If the county doesn't get the grants, van Eckert said, the county could look at other funding options.
"This is something that we can just go to the table with, and see what kind of response we get back," she said. "These are opportunities, though, that I really feel strongly that we can’t afford not to apply."