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Commercial electric vehicle maker Cenntro considering Jacksonville plant (Courtesy of the Jacksonville Daily Record) — New Jersey-based electric commercial vehicle company Cenntro Automotive Corp. is considering building its first U.S.-based manufacturing facility in Northwest Jacksonville. 

A memo and project summary drafted Nov. 15 by the city Office of Economic Development show Cenntro seeks property tax incentives for the proposed $25 million investment with at least 34 new jobs.

The Mayor’s Budget Review Committee is scheduled to vote Nov. 22 on the economic development office’s request to offer the electric vehicle manufacturer a Recapture Enhanced Value grant up to $450,000.

The money would be a property tax refund on 50% of the property tax revenue added by the project over five years. 

City Council President Sam Newby is expected to introduce legislation Nov. 23 on behalf of Mayor Lenny Curry. It will include an economic development agreement with Cenntro.

According to the memo from Office of Economic Development Executive Director Kirk Wendland, the legislation was filed Nov. 17. 

The project summary says $20 million of the investment would pay for new manufacturing equipment.

An exhibit attached to the agreement shows Cenntro is considering space at Lane Industrial Park at 2282 Lane Ave. N. in Northwest Jacksonville.

Real estate site LoopNet shows two 160,000-square-foot buildings available for lease in the facility.

The city project summary says the 34 jobs would have a $52,000 per year annual wage. 

The Cenntro Logistar 400 has a top speed of 60 mph.

The agreement would give Cenntro until Dec. 31, 2023, to fill the jobs. 

A job creation schedule in the tentative city agreement shows 15 jobs should be in place by Dec. 31, 2022.

The deal also could benefit Jacksonville-area logistics companies and JaxPort, it says.

The economic development office says in the project summary that Cenntro will import “a large amount” of production materials through the port.

The company told the city the tax incentive is a material factor in choosing Jacksonville for the expansion and it is considering other U.S. cities. 

Council could vote on the deal in December.

Cenntro was founded in 2013 by Peter Wang, who co-founded Asia telecom company UTStarcom, according to the company’s website and LinkedIn page. 

The company reports more than 3,300 vehicles delivered to 26 counties. Cenntro estimated it will generate $2.1 billion in revenue by 2023, the website said.

Its products range includes logistic and delivery, maintenance, warehouse, airport utility vehicles. 

Cenntro expects to complete a corporate combination before the end of 2021 with Naked Brand Group, according to a Nov. 9 new release from Cenntro attorney Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.

Naked Brand Group will acquire the outstanding capital stock of three wholly owned subsidiaries of Cenntro in a stock-for-stock transaction, the release says. Under the purchase agreement, Cenntro shareholders will own about 70% of the combined entity. 

Once the transaction is complete, Naked Brand Group will change its name to Cenntro Electric Group Limited. 

Photo courtesy of PR Wire