KPMG prospective user for 54-acre Lake Nona training center, seeks tax rebates

Bob Moser

New York-based KPMG LLP and the City of Orlando have a tentative agreement in place for more than $3.5 million in tax rebates over seven years, in exchange for the company's plan to invest an estimated $430 million to build an 800,000-square-foot corporate training and conference center in Lake Nona.

GrowthSpotter first reported on Aug. 11 that Tavistock Development Company was preparing plans for 54.5 acres on Lake Nona Boulevard as a corporate training campus with up to 550,000 square feet of conference space, 1,200 lodging rooms and recreation area. Tavistock cited a "unique user" at the time, but declined to name the prospective buyer.

KPMG is one of the world's leading providers of audit, tax and advisory services and industry insight to companies. 

“We can confirm that we are in discussions about a parcel of land in Lake Nona, as well as other locations, but at this time we have nothing to announce,” KPMG spokesman Tim Connolly said on Thursday morning.

He declined to confirm if KPMG will purchase or lease the land from Tavistock. In addition to Orlando, the company is considering Dallas and Atlanta for the project, according to a report provided to city council members.

The city would provide KPMG a tax rebate up to 25 percent of the property taxes assessed on the property for seven years, beginning in Fiscal Year 2020-2021 through 2026-2027, with a maximum cumulative rebate not exceeding $3.5 million, and a maximum annual rebate not exceeding $500,412.

In addition, the city will also support the local match for the state of Florida’s Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax refund program, which will total $64,000 from Orlando, paid as $16,000 annually over four years. 

If the QTI incentive is made available to the company, KPMG will create 80 jobs new to Florida by Dec. 31, 2019, paying an average annual wage of $66,098, which is at least 150 percent of the state's annual wage. 

The average value of benefits made available to employees would be $15,000. The state would provide a total of $320,000 to KPMG under the QTI program, which includes a 20 percent match from the city (up to $64,000 over four years). 

The economic development incentive agreement and QTI tax refund resolution are on Orlando's City Council agenda for Dec. 12, with staff recommending adoption.

The state's Division of Strategic Business Development will still have to approve KPMG as a QTI business.

Orlando would benefit from the development of KPMG’s facility through continued job growth and investment, plus an additional economic impact from the 48,000 KPMG employee visits expected to travel to Orlando each year for training and professional development, city staff wrote in a summary to council members.

The Economic Development Incentive Agreement includes strict accountability requirements that KPMG must meet to remain eligible for the tax rebate.

Tavistock and KPMG declined to comment Thursday on a timeline for when the facility would be built. 

Behind three gated entry points to the property would lie an expansive 54-acre campus with outdoor recreation and learning spaces, walking paths, a baseball field, and a boardwalk leading northwest to a dock on Red Lake. 

A majority of the property would be developed in Phase 1, with a training and lodging facility totaling 780,000 square feet that includes 800 corporate lodging rooms and 350,000 square feet of conference space, along with an outdoor social venue building of 15,000 square feet.

A Phase 2 expansion would include up to 400 more lodging rooms and 200,000 square feet of event space. 

Kimley-Horn has been civil engineer and landscape architect on the project, Jones Lang Lasalle Americas is the developer, the architect is Gensler out of Austin, and legal representative is Miranda Fitzgerald of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed.

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