The mission of the CEP is to be the catalyst for a prosperous community and one of the primary ways we seek to deliver on this mission is by actively working to recruit new primary employers. Our current five-year goals include impacting the announced creation of 4,500 new jobs which pay an average wage which is 15% above the current County average and will result in a direct capital investment in our community of $400 million. Through the first two years (17 & 18) of this current strategic plan, we have announced 2837 new jobs paying an average wage 17% above the County average with a capital investment of $318.6 million. While this is a great start, we believe year 3 is going to end as one of the best for these measures.
Green Thumb Industries
In mid-November we were very excited to announce that Green Thumb Industries (GTI) was redeveloping the former Mark III property along the interstate. The company will start construction early in 2020 on the first phase I of their new manufacturing and processing facility. This first phase will result in a minimum capital investment of $15 million and the creation of more than 100 new jobs.
GTI is a publicly traded company based in Chicago. The company has a market cap of $2 billion and is a leading player in the medical cannabis industry. The company has a license to grow, process, and distribute medical cannabis products through a network of retail locations which they also own. This retail network, called Rise, is licensed for 36 stores throughout the state. The new Ocala facility will place GTI as a major player in the Florida market especially with our community’s central location.
In late November the County and City should approve incentives for the location of BioSysco. This is a life-sciences technology company currently based in Chicago, Illinois. Utilizing a patented muscle activation technology, Sigma Q (ΣQ®), Biosysco “helps individuals become stronger, move better and recover faster than ever thought possible.” BioSysco has more recently developed an equine application for their technology and has worked with a respected Ocala-area equine rehabilitation center on a clinical study.
Pending the approval of incentives, BioSysco is excited about the prospect of hiring new 10 positions at an average annual wage of $65,500 in the Ocala area. Their initial presence would be at the Power Plant Business Incubator, where a new program has just been designed to support equine innovation.
Both projects are great additions to our community, but we think 2019 will have one more announcement. We are optimistic to share a significant new addition to our corporate community in this column next month.