Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chamber on Verge of Making 'Imminent' Announcements

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chamber on Verge of Making 'Imminent' Announcements

Article excerpt

In addition to this week's announcement that Kemper IFG will relocate from Chicago to Southside, the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce anticipates at least seven more "imminent" announcements.

While few details were made available, three of the seven are described as industrial-related projects, one is a defense contractor, and three are office or customer-service prospects, said John Haley, chamber vice president for business recruitment.

Couching his information to avoid identifying the projects, Haley said two of the three industrial prospects are owned by companies based outside the United States, and two of the three service centers are expansions of Jacksonville-based companies.

Here's a closer, but not detailed, look at the projects:

One internationally based manufacturing project could employ about 150 people.

Another manufacturing project is a U.S.-based food-service company, and it would employ a relatively small work force.

Another international company would operate a warehousing distribution center.

The defense contractor would provide industrial-service work and employ a small group of workers.

The remaining three customer-service centers would employ 200 to 300 people, and two are Jacksonville-based companies that would expand.

The chamber's prospect list can change daily, as evidenced by a report earlier this week that six projects were imminent, including the Kemper deal.

"When we put them on the imminent side, we are judging that they could go at any time. They have made the decision they want to be in Jacksonville and are still in negotiations," Haley said.

As for Kemper IFG, Kemper Insurance Companies reported on Wednesday that it would relocate its Individual and Family Group headquarters from its suburban Chicago headquarters to Jacksonville.

The relocation starts this month and should be completed early next year. The operation will employ about 50 people in a Butler Boulevard area office, although the site selection has not been completed.

Haley said the chamber's goal is to help generate at least 12,000 new direct and indirect, or spinoff, jobs in the metro area this year, although Haley expects that number could reach 15,000. …

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