Feb. 28--MARYVILLE -- ProNova Solutions, the high-tech manufacturing company led by Terry Douglass, will pay nothing for land at the Pellissippi Place technology park, under a deal approved today by the park's operating committee.
Under the deal, the company will also pay no property taxes for its first eight years, and pay the full rate only after 12 years.
ProNova is a new company that is gearing up to develop equipment for proton therapy, a form of cancer treatment that reduces collateral tissue damage, side effects and treatment costs compared to conventional radiation therapy.
Last week, the company said it will build two facilities on 26 acres in Pellissippi Place in Blount County over the next few years.
The first phase consists of a 30,000-square foot two-story office and research building with a 40,000-square foot assembly and test area initially supporting 35 employees and growing to 110 by 2015.
Phase two adds a 120,000-square foot two-story building with a projected staff of 110 in 2015 and expanding to a cumulative total of 525 by 2018.
The company had previously considered a site in Knox County. In December, the Development Corp. of Knox County approved a proposed sale of land at that site in which ProNova would have paid $95,000 for a 9.5-acre site that had an appraised value of $950,000.
Douglass, the chairman of ProNova, last week said two factors that tipped the scales in favor of Blount County were a better land price and better tax abatements.
The company is expected to invest $52 million in the project and employ 500 people by 2018.
Pellissippi Place is a joint project of Knox and Blount counties and the cities of Alcoa and Maryville. Revenues from land sales in the park, as well as property taxes paid by the businesses, will be split among the municipalities that funded it. Tax revenues can be re-invested into park infrastructure if such a move is approved by the park's operating committee.
The operating committee, which met on Thursday, includes Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell.
Burchett said after the meeting that it makes sense to give away the land because "(We've) got to get them here. It's competition with other areas obviously."
The mayor also compared the deal to incentives provided to companies like Electrolux. According to the Commercial Appeal, that company received $188 million in local and state taxpayer subsidies and tax breaks to develop an oven plant in Memphis. That plant is expected to eventually employ 1,200 people.
Mitchell said the ProNova deal is not uncommon, particularly in a technology park. "If you don't do it, and they don't come, those are jobs that are lost," he said.
The land donation is contingent on completion of the company's Phase One facilities. The tax breaks are contingent upon the company meeting certain thresholds regarding the amount of capital investment, the number of employees hired and the compensation of those employees.
More details as they develop online and in Friday's News Sentinel.