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Johnson & Johnson Vision Care considering $200 million Jacksonville expansion  (Courtesy of the Jacksonville Daily Record) — Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. is considering expanding its Jacksonville manufacturing capability with a $200 million capital investment that would add 100 jobs. 

A city Office of Economic Development project summary shows J&J Vision is asking for up to a $7 million property tax refund over 10 years to partially finance the expansion. 

The Mayor’s Budget Review Committee is scheduled to vote Nov. 8 on a request from economic development officials to file legislation with City Council to approve the incentive. 

J&J Vision makes nearly 1.7 billion disposable contact lenses a year at the Jacksonville plant, which sits on almost 69 acres at 7500 Centurion Parkway in Deerwood Park.

An online dashboard from JAXUSA Partnership, the economic development arm of JAX Chamber, says J&J Vision has 1,800 workers in Jacksonville. 

The Duval County Property Appraiser shows the company has about 1.058 million square feet of space on the site comprising corporate offices, a research and development laboratory, manufacturing and distribution uses as well as The Vision Care Institute.

J&J Vision told the city that the capital investment would include machinery, equipment and infrastructure.

If approved, the company would receive a 50% Recapture Enhanced Value Grant refund over 10 years of the new property taxes generated by the improvements.

The 100 jobs would pay an average annual wage of $65,000, creating a  $6.5 million annual payroll, excluding benefits.

J&J Vision would be required to have the jobs in place by Dec. 31, 2024, to receive the tax incentive.

Economic development officials calculated a $2.07 return for every $1 invested in the project, according to the summary.

J&J Vision considers the city incentives “a material factor” in expanding its Jacksonville operation as opposed to its contact lens facility in Limerick, Ireland, or other locations.

The proposal would be J&J Vision’s third expansion in the past eight years.

J&J Vision has been producing contact lenses in Jacksonville since it acquired a local company called Frontier Contact Lenses in 1981.

It expanded the business into other eye care products with acquisitions beginning in 2016.

The city is paying on REV grants awarded in 2014 and 2016 for expansion of the same facility, according to the project summary.

Council approved a $7.1 million REV grant for J&J Vision in 2015 for a $300 million, 100-job expansion. 

The state pledged a tax credit of 5% of J&J Vision’s total capital investment for that expansion. That incentive will be paid over 20 years and is estimated to be $90.3 million toward any state corporate income tax liability owed by J&J.

The city issued a permit in March 2020 for the $24 million, two-story, 15,421-square-foot building as part of a $30 million plant expansion.

Council also awarded J&J Vision Care a $6.9 million REV grant in 2013 for an expansion. 

In July, the company reported second-quarter sales rose 70.1% from 2020 to $1.183 billion as the market recovered from the coronavirus pandemic.

Contact lens sales rose 56.7% to $868 million, while J&J Vision’s eye surgical products business more than doubled in revenue. 

Image courtesy of Industry Week