Millions of dollars in new investment, a few major corporate expansions and the retention of hundreds of local jobs – not to mention the creation of new demand for local construction workers and contractors – all were guaranteed by tax breaks awarded this week by the city-county Economic Development Growth Engine board.
Plans presented Wednesday, Feb. 15, by FedEx, Nucor Steel Memphis Inc., medical diagnostics company Oxford Immunotec Inc. and baking industry manufacturer AB Mauri Fleischmann’s all were blessed by EDGE board members and in turn won varying financial incentives.
In the case of Massachusetts-based Oxford Immunotec, which is looking to open its second U.S. location in Memphis, the EDGE board gave its support to Oxford’s application for a $100,000 grant from the state.
Greater Memphis Chamber senior vice president of economic development Mark Herbison said the chamber and state have worked on bringing Oxford to Memphis for more than a year. The company is planning its Memphis location to be at 5846 Distribution Drive, and it expects to invest more than $1.8 million and hire 25 employees by the end of 2014 for the facility.
The company, which is developing new testing for diseases based on its patented technology, would focus its proposed Memphis location on testing blood specimens for analysis using a test developed by the company.
Meanwhile, payments-in-lieu-of-taxes granted by the EDGE board include a 15-year tax freeze for Nucor, which is planning to expand.
Nucor is increasing its manufacturing output by up to 25 percent and in the process plans to create 27 new jobs at its 3601 Paul R. Lowery Road location and acquire about 42 acres on the east side of Paul Lowry from the Port Commission. That new acreage would help expand Nucor’s rail infrastructure.
In return, the company would invest $113 million to produce “high-quality carbon alloy steel for the automotive, heavy equipment and service center markets.”
“We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think we had the ability to sell it in the marketplace,” said Nucor executive Randy Spicer.
Nucor currently has about 400 direct jobs in the city and has invested about $400 million in its operations here.
By chance, FedEx appeared before the EDGE board to apply for a tax freeze a few hours before NBC’s “Rock Center With Brian Williams” broadcast an inside look at the shipping giant’s operations later that day. The tax freeze is related to the company’s effort to consolidate flight training activity for its 4,500 pilots into a single state-of-the-art facility.
FedEx is making a $141.9 million investment for the project. Each of the pilots would eventually be brought to Memphis, and the resulting hotel room nights and other economic activity as a result of their visits would bring several million dollars a year annually to the city, EDGE board members were told.
The company won a 13-year tax freeze related to new manufacturing machinery and equipment and a six-year tax freeze on real property improvements.
AB Mauri Fleischmann’s Co. requested an eight-year tax freeze to help the company, which is a global leader in yeast and bakery ingredient products, retain its manufacturing facility in Memphis.
It’s planning to invest $10.5 million in its yeast manufacturing facility to expand output and make it more cost-competitive.
The company’s facility at 2743 Riverport Road makes, sells and distributes cream and packaged “wet” yeast to the baking industry, food service companies and consumers.
ABMF is attempting to lower total operating costs at its Memphis facility by $4 million per year, or 3.5 cents per pound produced. To achieve that, ABMF says it has to invest in new manufacturing machinery and equipment.