Big incentive package OK’d
State approves $34.4M in job growth tax credits for unnamed telecom company.
Colorado’s Economic Development Commission approved its largest incentive package in recent years in hopes of getting one of the country’s top cable operators to create 1,200 high-paying jobs in the Denver metro area.
Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to approve $34.4 million in performance-based job growth incentive tax credits for the unnamed East Coast-based telecommunications company.
The company, using the code name Project Copper, is looking to consolidate its network operations personnel in one office in metro Denver or the greater St. Louis area, state officials said. The jobs would pay an average of $98,250 a year.
“The pipeline for talent in this community is incredibly high, and it would be a natural refortification of an industry that has a lot of heritage here and is on a growth path,” said Stephanie Copeland, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
And while state officials did not identify the company by name, the cable operator has a presence in the Denver area.
One viable candidate is Charter Communications, which is based in Stamford, Conn., and employs 90,000 workers nationwide — the same number used by state officials. That includes more than 2,800 employees in Colorado, as of December.
Charter announced plans last fall to lease an entire 12story office tower now under construction near Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre in Greenwood Village.
The publicly traded company — in which John Malone’s Liberty Media owns a stake — also has a substantial presence in St. Louis, the other metro area under consideration for the jobs.
A Charter spokesman on Thursday declined to comment on the tax credits.
“The Denver area is a terrific source of the highly skilled technical workforce we already have and are expanding,” spokesman Bret Picciolo said in an e-mail. “Through our investment in and long-term commitment to the area, we’re hoping to make Charter even more of a destination for the area’s top technical talent.”
Project Copper will receive the state tax credits only if it creates and maintains the proposed jobs in Colorado. The popular economic development incentive comes in the form of a 50 percent rebate on payroll taxes paid during an eightyear window.
To be eligible, businesses must create at least 20 new jobs in the state with an average annual wage at least equal to its Colorado county’s average rate.
The $34.4 million in tax credits that Project Copper could receive is the largest amount the state commission has authorized in at least three years, a state spokeswoman said.
The commission also approved two smaller incentives Thursday.
Project Husker, a business-to-business franchisor of print and marketing communication centers, was approved for $1.02 million in job growth incentive tax credits in return for bringing 55 headquarters jobs with an average salary of $89,091 to Denver or Arapahoe counties.
Project 5767, a Montrealbased biotech company, will receive $1.3 million in tax credits if it creates 105 jobs at an annual wage of $84,133 in the Denver metro area.