By Mark Schlueb, Orlando Sentinel
5:50 PM EDT, May 20, 2013
Orlando revamped an economic development program Monday to offer job-creation incentives to companies that match the Dyer administration's favored downtown projects: the Creative Village and SunRail.
Since 2006, the city has offered incentives of as much as $1,500-per-job to targeted industries that move downtown. The City Council rewrote the program to offer as much as $5,000 per job. That includes several new "bonus" incentives:
•A $2,500-per-job "Creative Village Pioneer" bonus for companies that move at least 50 new jobs to the planned private development being built on land once home to the old Amway Arena.
•A $1,000-per-job "Downtown Living" bonus for companies whose employees live downtown.
•A $1,000-per-job bonus for companies whose employees use public transportation, including the SunRail commuter train system that starts next year.
The city has budgeted $2 million for the program, which is limited to the first 400 new jobs created. To qualify, employers must pay an average minimum salary of 115 percent of the state or local average, which equals about $48,000.
Mayor Buddy Dyer said paying companies to move to the Creative Village isn't unfair to landowners elsewhere in the city whose property isn't eligible for incentives.
"I don't know if it's fair — I wouldn't characterize it one way or the other in that regard," Dyer said. "But the Creative Village is a city initiative, and we want to make sure it's successful."
The city will pay the incentives only after jobs are created and will typically be paid out over a four- to 10-year period, officials said.
"Obviously, Creative Village is a very important project. Having people living in our downtown is very important to us," Dyer said. "And we certainly want to make sure that SunRail is successful."
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