UPDATED: DECEMBER 6, 2016 2:04 PM — The City of Apopka is set to approve tax incentives on Wednesday worth up to $60,000 for electronics manufacturer Qorvo US, Inc., which is leveraging rebates from the city, county and state in exchange for a $43 million expansion of its local plant.
Based in Greensboro, North Carolina, the company is a leading supplier of radio frequency systems used in smartphones and wireless infrastructure. The company generates most of its revenue from selling components to smartphone manufacturers, and from defense contracts.
Located at 1818 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Qorvo's plant in Apopka is one of four it has around the country, each of which focus on manufacturing a specific technology. The 142,700-square-foot Apopka plant produces acoustic wave filters used within cell phones, which help keep phone call signals clear.
Qorvo was recently granted new contracts that will require the expansion of its Apopka plant, and the potential addition of 100 new jobs, according to notes provided to City Council. However, the plant is in competition with another facility out of state, the company told city staff.
The expansion would include a 33,000-square-foot office addition, and 7,000 square feet of new lab space. The project will create approximately 100 new high-wage jobs in the city, primarily engineers, with an average salary of $83,900. Up to 50 percent of the new employees would be hired locally, according to the city's report.
Under the state's Qualified Target Industry (QTI) program for property tax incentives, Qorvo meets the criteria for a $6,000 reimbursement per job. Under this program, the state pays 80 percent of the cost ($480,000), while local government pays 20 percent.
Apopka would partner on this with Orange County, making both responsible for 10 percent of the cost ($60,000 each) over the life of the agreement, or an average of $7,500 per year.
The company has been considering a local expansion for more than a year, said Jim Hitt, Apopka's community development director. The city, Orlando Economic Development Commission and Orange County Economic Development Department have teamed up to propose an incentives package.
Orange County and Apopka would combine on incentives that would reimburse the company 50 percent of the increase in its property taxes following the expansion, over an eight-year period.
The city is assuming Qorvo will invest $43 million in the new building and equipment, for which it would reimburse approximately $578,745 over the eight years.
Qorvo representatives talked last week with Apopka's Development Review Committee about a special exception for a height variance on the proposed office expansion (three stories). The company has not yet submitted a site plan, Hitt said.
City staff will recommend approval of the economic development incentive grant agreement on Wednesday at the City Council meeting.
The benefit of the incentives is that they are entirely based on Qorvo seeing through the expansion and adding jobs.
Qorvo debuted as a new company in 2015 following a merger of Greensboro-based RF Micro Devices, and Oregon-based TriQuint Semiconductor Inc. Its stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market.