Three companies plan to locate at Santa Rosa Industrial Park East, creating more than 100 jobs and $22 million of capital investment.
And that’s just the start of a busy summer.
Two selling points for Santa Rosa Industrial Park East are 112 acres of certified developable land, which are just two miles from Interstate-10.
“Manufacturing has a high impact to the economy; that’s the reason we target manufacturing,” said Shannon Ogletree, Santa Rosa County’s economic development director. Anything from renewable energy to the aviation sector. One job in the manufacturing industry will create multiple more jobs throughout the economy.”
The three projects – code named O Brother, Hard Metal and Induction – are manufacturing firms in various areas, and will join boat manufacturer Cape Horn in the park.
“One of them has to do with manufacturing relating to renewable energy; in terms of timeline, we are seeking money to extend a road through our industrial park,” said Ogletree. “One of the projects, which is O Brother, they will be able to get moving sooner than later, but the other two will have to wait as we seek funding for this road.”
Confidentiality agreements with the businesses require identification be made only by project name and description. Santa Rosa Commissioner Lane Lynchard expects the companies to go public by the end of summer.
“Our economic development team, they work with industry site plan consultants throughout the county to put Santa Rosa County out there, and advertise what we have to offer,” Lynchard said. “In terms of our location, work force, the infrastructure that we’re putting in place to recruit these new industries/new businesses to Santa Rosa County.”
Lynchard reminds everyone that these -- and other industrial development projects – don’t just pop up or get thrown together overnight.
“Some of these projects may have been in the works for more than a year; and that’s true of some of these large economic development projects,” said Lynchard. “It takes a lot of groundwork by our team, to get them to that point where they’re comfortable investing millions of dollars in Santa Rosa County.”
The aforementioned 110 new jobs and $22 million investment by the three firms, says Shannon Ogletree, are conservative estimates at their respective startups.
“As they move in, they’re expected to grow, especially the big one, Project Induction, which is the company that’s looking at 40 acres at the Santa Rosa Industrial Park East,” Ogletree said.
When his team goes after companies as potential tenants, Ogletree says they’re usually in what he calls their “target sector.”
“One that fits our labor force, or fits the geography,” he said. “[At] Santa Rosa Industrial Park East, we kind of dovetailed that site into two more manufacturing sites. Between these three projects, the two that are out are outstanding along with Cape Horn, we’re making that our true industrial site.”
As mentioned, one goal akin to luring the businesses is getting the park’s road built in part with BP oil spill money from Triumph Gulf Coast. That’s a portion of the one and a half billion dollars earmarked for the region, which Commissioner Lane Lynchard says puts Northwest Florida on a level playing field with neighboring states.
“We’ve been competing against Alabama and Georgia – that have dedicated funding sources and really, really deep pockets – to provide companies incentives to come to those states,” said Lynchard. “And we lost out in the past. But with Triumph, they’re able to fund infrastructure that’s going to serve these new companies that are locating to the Panhandle.”
And the economic development team is not sitting on their hands. Lynchard says they hope to make a couple more announcements “real soon.”