By Samantha Roesler
The Collier County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved $1.5 million in grant incentives Tuesday for a South American glass manufacturing company to build an advanced processing facility in Ave Maria.
The facility for Chile-based Dialum Glass is planned for Ave Maria’s Innovation Zone, which was set up in 2015 by the county to promote economic development by encouraging the construction of corporate headquarters and manufacturing plants. The Innovation Zone program was created in 2010, and any taxes collected in the zone go into a trust fund. The $1.5 million granted to Dialum will come from funds created by the Ave Maria Innovation Zone, one of three innovation zones in the county.
“These innovation zones are an excellent economic development tool designed specifically to attract businesses with high-wage jobs,” County Manager Amy Patterson said. “This one is particularly exciting in light of the fact that it is Ave Maria. And with the growth out in that area, providing jobs where people aren’t having to travel into the coast in the urban area is of primary importance.”
Dialum was founded in Santiago, Chile, in 1987 and has since opened four factories. The one in Ave Maria will be the company’s first facility in the U.S. where 80% of Dialum’s customer base resides.
Phase one of the facility is planned to be around 90,000 square feet with the ability to double in size and is expected to cost approximately $20 million. The $1.5 million won’t be dispersed to Dialum until after the construction phase has been completed. Dialum will receive $500,000 upon completion and $250,000 each year thereafter for four years.
This facility is anticipated to create between 80 and 100 jobs and a net increase to the county’s tax base. Commissioner Rick LoCastro hopes that this project will motivate other large companies to take advantage of Ave Maria’s potential.
“We hope [this] attracts other businesses and people and workers and all those things,” LoCastro said. “And so, I think we’re priming the pump in an area that has potential for managed growth and the right type of growth and the right type of investment for our community for sure.”
Dialum’s building will be directly east of the Arthrex Manufacturing Inc. plant as part of the Ave Maria’s Arthrex Commerce Park development.
“It’s about 150 acres of undeveloped land,” said Cee Cee Marinelli, vice president of commercial real estate for Barron Collier Cos. “There we have plans for a 300-unit apartment complex that we will be joint venturing on. We’ve sold 15 acres for an assisted and independent living facility. There’ll be a substantial medical campus, as well as additional industrial and retail outparcels that we’re working right now to currently design and permit the infrastructure. So probably within 18 months, we’ll start seeing some construction down there as well.”