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With Hertz hoopla over, work now begins

May 9, 2013
Hertz - News-Press roundtable
Hertz - News-Press roundtable: Community representatives gathered at the News-Press Wednesday morning to talk about the future plans of Hertz. Video by Guy Tubbs.
Just another day for Hertz in Lee County: Customers drop off their rental vehicles at the Southwest Florida International Airport. Now that the news conferences are over, hard work will have to follow. / Andrew West/
Tyler Tribbitt rents a car from the Hertz kiosk at Southwest Florida International Airport on Tuesday May 7. 2013. The company formally announced its plans to move the world headquarters to Estero. / Andrew West/News-Press


The Hertz property under contract is at the southeast corner of U.S. 41 and Williams Road. Because of incorrect information given to The News-Press, the location was incorrect in a caption on 1A in Tuesday’s paper.

The Hertz incentive package includes:

$3.4 million a year for up to 20 years through the Capital Investment Tax Credit.
$7 million, Quick Action Closing fund, paid out based on specific performance-based criteria.
$3 million, Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund, once the company meets job and salary criteria.
$4.6 million, Lee County incentives. Enterprise Florida estimates the local incentives could top $5 million.
$945,000, Quick Response Training program, reimbursement for training costs.
$125,000 a year for four years through an economic development rate reduction from Florida Power & Light Co.


Hertz needs temporary home, A3

From left: Jim Moore, Cecil Pendergrass, Lizbeth Benaquisto, Bennelson, Doug Meurer and Heather Fitzenhagen speak during a round table discussion with The News-Press of the recent Hertz deal and moving forward with economic development in southwest Florida. / Guy Tubbs/The News-Press;


More coverage of Hertz moving headquarters to Lee County

Politicians and dignitaries called the deal to bring Hertz to Lee County a very big dealat the formal unveiling this week, but key players said Wednesday it can live up to the hype only if more work is pledged to the region’s economic development.

“The deal can be a game changer if we capitalize on it,” said Jim Moore, director of Lee’s Economic Development Office. “Hertz has given us visibility and credibility that heretofore we did not have. Yesterday I had four phone calls from various parts of the country — two from businesses and two from site consultants — congratulating us on the Hertz deal, and they are all people I never expected to hear from.”

Moore and other community leaders participated in a panel discussion at The News-Press to discuss the deal and what it means for future projects. The agreement to bring the Fortune 500 company here pledges $4.6 million in county money, $12 million in state funding, plus $68 million in tax credits over 20 years.

Hertz has an option to buy 34 acres in Estero at the southeast corner of U.S. 41 and Williams Road. The company will lease an office building in Lee or Collier County while the headquarters are built.

The company eventually expects to bring 700 jobs here.

Just as the FGCU Eagles basketball team earned national attention for the area for its berth into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in March, Lee commission Chairman Cecil Pendergrass said the Hertz deal has drawn eyes from around the globe.

“We can bring national and global companies to Lee County,” Pendergrass said.

Gov. Rick Scott appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Wednesday to tout the deal, only to take good-natured jabs from host Joe Kernen about “poaching” jobs from New Jersey, the home of Hertz and the broadcast studio. Hertz’s headquarters are in Park Ridge.

“Aren’t you going to move your program down here?” Scott asked. “Everybody’s moving to Florida.”

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Florida Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto said the Hertz deal means Lee County, Southwest Florida and Florida will all be on more shortlists for projects.

“I think what the Hertz deal did more than anything else was raise awareness of how special the community is,” Benacquisto said. “I have great faith in Jim Moore and his team moving forward … to reach out to other companies who are looking to expand or relocate and say we made room for Hertz and we can make room for you.”

Bonita Springs Mayor Ben Nelson said the nation is also watching as Hertz moves through permitting, construction and relocating its employees. Other companies will ask Hertz “How’d that work out for you?,” Nelson said.

“Now we have to perform and make good on the promises we have made the company,” he said. “We don’t want to be the dog that caught the car. We have to do something with it.”

Interim County Manager Doug Meurer said the ultimate goal is to be sure Hertz is pleased with the decision for years to come.

“Two years from now, we want Hertz to say, “This was better than expected,’” Meurer said.

If nothing else, Moore said the county has a conversation starter when talking with other prospective business projects.

“We got Hertz. There is a reason for that. Let’s talk,” Moore said.

Connect with Tim Engstrom @TimEngstrom (Twitter)

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