The U.S. economy may be in a pandemic-induced recession, but Colorado continues to see strong interest from companies looking to relocate and expand.
Case in point, the Colorado Economic Development Commission on Thursday awarded $14.8 million in incentives to four companies that could bring 1,217 jobs to the state. A majority of those jobs would pay more than $125,000 a year.
Companies are looking to exit more densely populated states like California and New York for less-crowded and lower-costs markets, Michelle Hadwiger, deputy director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development, told commissioners Thursday morning.
Colorado’s reputation as a healthy place to live with lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation is giving it a boost in a period of global contagion.
“Interest remains steady and strong. It is perhaps increasing somewhat,” Hadwiger said.
On the international side, Colorado is hearing from companies in Japan, Korea and Europe, especially in bioscience and manufacturing, that want to set up operations in the U.S., Hadwiger said.
The largest incentive award the commission approved Thursday, at $5.5 million in job growth incentive tax credits, went to Project Wade, the codename for a venture-backed Bay Area fintech company.
It is looking at either metro Denver or Portland, Ore., for the location of its HQ2, which will employ an estimated 543 people at an average annual wage of $134,472.
Project Pentagon involves the expansion of a software-as-service company already in the state that is looking to add 403 new jobs paying an average annual wage of $62,295.
The commission awarded $2.7 million in job growth incentive tax credits and another $1.1 million from the state’s Strategic Fund. The company was allowed to “double-dip” because it has pledged to locate 171 of those jobs in a rural part of the state, most likely the Grand Junction area.
But that award will make a big dent to the Strategic Fund, a cash pool COEDIT uses in special situations to fund new programs. COEDIT will encumber only $260,000 of the award until the company provides 40 jobs and release additional amounts over a five-year period. Essentially, Project Pentagon is on a pay as you go plan.
Project Nutmeg, the subsidiary of a large U.S. pharmaceutical firm, is looking at Colorado, Connecticut or Georgia for a new lab to develop drugs to treat cancer.
More specifically, the company, which received approval for $3.4 million in job growth incentive tax credits, is looking at a 70,000-square-foot laboratory costing $20 million in Boulder, Broomfield or Denver. The lab would eventually employ 106 people at an average annual wage of $125,142.
The smallest award, $2 million, went to Project Hummingbird, a publicly-traded technology company based in the Northeast with 5,500 employees worldwide. The company is looking at Colorado, Ohio or Maine for a new headquarters location and software engineering center that will employ 75 people at an average annual wage of $168,396.
Project Hummingbird, if it chooses Colorado, would most likely land in Broomfield.
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