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Update, 10:15 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 19: Deltona city leaders had planned on announcing the name of the company behind Project Normandy at a meeting Thursday morning, but they decided to hold off at the last minute.

Company officials told the city that the deal between the company and the current owner of the site has not yet closed.

Some members of the Deltona City Commission said they did not want to have a final vote on the incentive package for the project until they could announce the name of the company to the public, in the name of transparency.

— Al Everson


With promises of good-paying jobs, six-figure tax windfalls, and a new wave of related economic activity spurred by the new payrolls, the Deltona City Commission on Dec. 16 ratified a package of incentives for an incoming corporation shrouded in secrecy.

The company, currently known only by the code name “Project Normandy,” is preparing to build a 1.4 million-square-foot warehouse and trucking complex on 85 acres along North Normandy Boulevard.

Rumors point to Amazon as the most likely company, developing a distribution center, or fulfillment center, with easy access to Interstate 4, but civic and business leaders close to the deal refuse to confirm the corporation’s identity.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity for Deltona,” City Commissioner Chris Nabicht said. “The incentives are a small price to pay.”

Under the deal approved by the City Commission, Project Normandy will enjoy nearly $2.5 million in property-tax rebates. After the rebates expire in 2026, Deltona expects to receive about $700,000 a year in property taxes on the warehouse.

Team Volusia President Keith Norden hailed the company’s location in Deltona, stressing he and his staff have sought out opportunities of this sort.

“Economic development is truly a team sport,” Norden said, noting a host of local and state agencies have been involved in Project Normandy.

Those partners include officials of Deltona and Volusia County, the Florida Department of Transportation, Enterprise Florida, CareerSource Flagler/Volusia and Duke Energy.

“The Wall Street Journal highlighted this site in an article,” Norden said.

Team Volusia Vice President for Business Development Chris Wimsatt said recruiting the company has involved “years and years of effort and years of marketing.”

Wimsatt predicted the advent of the big company will be “a wonderful catalyst for further development.”

Besides the construction jobs connected with the facility’s development, Team Volusia estimated more than 200 other jobs will be created in other businesses, such as retail stores and restaurants.

Not everyone is pleased.

“I think we have a right to know the name of the company,” Miriam Schechter told the City Commission.

“I think you ought to require at least 10 percent of the workforce be from Deltona,” Elbert Bryan said. “Hire our people.”

Bryan urged the commission to review the arrangement.

“I say, table this tonight. Have a workshop on it,” he added.

Albert Neff objected to the tax rebates.

“Deltona owes a lot of money,” he said. “To give away $2 million … there’s got to be a better way.”

Nevertheless, the City Commission voted unanimously for the Project Normandy incentive package. Mayor Heidi Herzberg thanked all “who have worked months and years to bring this to fruition.”

{{tncms-inline alignment=”center” content=”&lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; Project Normandy involves a plant investment of approximately $100 million in construction and capital equipment. The company&amp;rsquo;s Deltona facility promises to bring at least 500 new full-time jobs, whose average annual wages will be about $32,000, plus fringe benefits such as medical and dental insurance, employee discounts and educational assistance.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;The Deltona payroll will be about $16 million annually &amp;mdash; new dollars coming into Deltona and changing hands multiple times.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; The company promises to hire in increments, starting with 150 employees in 2020 and adding another 150 jobs in 2021. During 2022, the company must add 300 more employees. As of 2023, the company will be required to employ at least 500 people.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; Deltona will give tax rebates amounting to almost $2.5 million to the company for the first five years of the facility&amp;rsquo;s operation, beginning in 2021. For the first three years, Deltona will return the full amount, 100 percent of the property taxes levied by the city. The estimated amounts during those first three years range between $450,000 and about $500,000.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;In the fourth and fifth years of the incentives arrangement, the city will refund 50 percent of the ad valorem property taxes, an amount currently projected at about $264,000. As of 2025, the 50-percent rebate is estimated at about $275,000.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; If the company fails to meet at least 80 percent of its employment-creation goal during any of the first five years of the incentives program, the city will not grant the tax incentive.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Beginning in the sixth year, the city will tax the Deltona complex at its full value.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;ldquo;In the year 2026, the City can expect the ad valorem revenue from the facility at the present millage rate of 7.85 to generate almost $700,000 in revenue,&amp;rdquo; a city memorandum reads. &amp;ldquo;Currently as a raw, unimproved property, the City receives about $20,000 a year in tax revenue.&amp;rdquo;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; Al Everson&lt;/p&gt;” id=”7164586f-aaaf-405f-a1d4-c34404793fd1″ style-type=”info” title=”What’s the deal?” type=”relcontent” width=”full”}}

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Al Everson
Born in Virginia, Al spent his youth in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, and first moved to DeLand in 1969. He graduated from Stetson University in 1971, and returned to West Volusia in 1985. Al began working for The Beacon as a stringer in 1999, contributing articles on county and municipal government and, when he left his job as the one-man news department at Radio Station WXVQ, began working at The Beacon full time.


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