By Zach Murdock via Herald Tribune
SARASOTA COUNTY — The roofing company behind the controversial economic development deal “Project Mulligan” has inked a deal to move its headquarters to Tampa.
Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development group, is expected to announce the almost $1.2 million deal with Hillsborough County, the City of Tampa and North Carolina-based North American Roofing as soon as today.
It includes $900,000 in tax refund incentives to create 180 jobs at the new office and another $270,000 in training grants from CareerSource Florida, said Rick Sitterley, a consultant advising the company on the move.
“The EDC there in Tampa was just aggressive, positive, pro-business,” Sitterley said Tuesday morning. “It was something we needed after the debacle in Sarasota.”
The deal is very similar to one the Sarasota County Commission denied in May amid fears the then-confidential deal would have provided subsidies to a new company poaching qualified office personnel from area contractors.
The decision quelled backlash from roofing contractors but whipped up even more backlash of its own.
Leaders of the Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County and county economic advisers were left frustrated and angry, while state economic leaders chastised the commission for its decision.
“When you go down the road we went in Sarasota and you’re told by everybody from the EDC to the county’s own economic development folks, ‘This is a slam dunk,’ the business starts making decisions,” Sitterley said. “The rug was pulled out from underneath us and we had to completely turn around and start planning the next steps.
“Here was a headquarters, a project they (the County Commission) won’t see for another 20 or 30 years, and they completely blew it,” he continued. “Will (Enterprise Florida) be back? No.”
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