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Fort Walton Beach Tech Park trying to rent office space
FORT WALTON BEACH -- Take a drive through the Commerce and Technology Park in Fort Walton Beach. You'll see lots of empty buildings and "For Rent" signs.
City leaders are looking at new ways to bring in businesses, and jobs.
Laura Hussey "Casey Ignas owns this 14,000 square foot building in the Fort Walton Beach Commerce and Technology Park. Couple of years ago, he tried to sell it, no takers. Now it's completely remodeled, everything you see in here is new. They just need somebody to lease it out"
The Ignas family isn't alone; there are lots of empty spaces in the tech park.
Chris Ignas is a realtor who listed the building for his dad.
Christopher Ignas "It's very frustrating 'cause you look around and we've got so much opportunity with such a big building"
At an Economic Development Workshop this week, Fort Walton Beach leaders talked about targeting new industries, manufacturing, medical, financial.
They discussed incentives like tax abatements for businesses that create jobs.
Christopher "I think the less risk on a company or the less they have to come out in capital, I think they look at it as an investment opportunity"
Nufletch Archery is John Marshall's business.
He says he'd like to be able to move his manufacturing operation here.
John "We have the ability to create, a single job is important, but what if we could turn around and do ten jobs, and it starts there"
The county already has a Tax Abatement program, on the ballot for renewal next summer.
Depending on the industry, creating ten jobs can be enough to qualify.
Amounts vary; the maximum is ten years and a hundred thousand dollars.
In January, Fort Walton Beach leaders will consider a similar program.
John "It's an incentive, and businesses that take the incentive and take action are the ones that will be here in the long haul. That's what we need, we need long haul businesses, not short term, in and out of business"
Laura Hussey "Casey Ignas screwed every bolt into this wall himself. There's new insulation underneath. I asked him what type of business he'd like to see in here. He says anybody."