Nearly $20M OK’d to lure new busi­ness

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By John Wen­zel

Colorado’s Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion on Thurs­day ap­proved nearly $20 mil­lion in in­cen­tives for seven com­pa­nies look­ing to set up or ex­pand their op­er­a­tions along the Front Range.

The com­pa­nies — anony­mous on the com­mis­sion’s agenda but code-named Project Thun­der­bird, Project Rolling, Project Pikes and the like — would ac­count for nearly 1,500 jobs if all de­cided to ac­cept.

“Our staff does a thor­ough vet­ting of the com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing their abil­ity to meet the pro­jected jobs, so we don’t even bring projects to the com­mis­sion that we feel would be con­tro­ver­sial or un­suc­cess­ful,” said Jenifer Doane, Of­fice of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and In­ter­na­tional Trade spokes­woman.

In­cen­tives for the projects, which span from Larimer County to Colorado Springs, will be of­fered through the Job Growth In­cen­tive Tax. Each will only be avail­able af­ter a com­pany has been op­er­at­ing and em­ploy­ing work­ers in-state for at least a year.

High­lights in­clude Project Peter, a Colorado-based com­pany fo­cused on com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial prod­ucts for

the en­ergy and aero­space, which was of­fered a $7.1 mil­lion in­cen­tive to cre­ate 500 full-time jobs in Larimer County. Project Puz­zle, a soft­ware com­pany to be po­ten­tially based in Ara­pa­hoe County, was of­fered $4.5 mil­lion to cre­ate nearly 300 new full-time jobs with an av­er­age an­nual wage of $70,000.

Project 5738, a food man­u­fac­turer based in the Mid­west, is also con­sid­er­ing build­ing a 250,000square-foot fa­cil­ity with more than 300 full-time jobs and a po­ten­tial in­vest­ment of more than $300 mil­lion in built-to-suit in­fra­struc­ture, Doane said.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Thurs­day’s meet­ing awarded $300,000 in film re­bates to a project from ac­tor, di­rec­tor and po­lit­i­cal scion Bobby Kennedy III, who breezily charmed board mem­bers at the meet­ing.

Kennedy is work­ing on a nar­ra­tive fea­ture about the true story of gonzo jour­nal­ist Hunter S. Thomp­son’s 1970 run for sher­iff of Pitkin County. Kennedy plans to be­gin shoot­ing his $1.85 mil­lion-bud­geted film in Colorado’s high coun­try start­ing in June.

Thurs­day also marked the fi­nal ap­pear­ance of Fiona Arnold as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the com­mis­sion af­ter a two-year run. She will be re­placed in Jan­uary by Stephanie Copeland, who was named ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor last month by Gov. John Hick­en­looper.

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