June 21, 2008

Three Companies Get Utah Incentives

By Lesley Mitchell, The Salt Lake Tribune

Jun. 21--Utah has offered online auctioneer eBay an incentive worth as much as $27.3 million to convince the company to build a new data-storage center that would employ 50 people in the Salt Lake area.

The Governor's Office of Economic Development Board unanimously approved the incentive, which is payable over 10 years as a state income tax credit.

The Internet-based company did not immediately return calls or e-mails seeking comment about whether it would invest $334 million to construct a new center in Utah. State officials said the company hasn't yet decided whether it will locate in the Salt Lake area or in another state.

In an application for state money, eBay said its new center would employ as many as 50 full-time people earning an average of $49,200 annually, not counting benefits.

Publicly held eBay has about 84 million active users worldwide that last year sold items valued at nearly $60 billion. Data-storage centers are key in keeping the site running quickly and smoothly.

Board member Mel Lavitt said the company's project is worth such a large incentive, given the large capital investment and the high-paying jobs that would be created.

Also approved Friday:

--Cementation Canada Inc. was offered a $3.3 million incentive in the form of a tax credit payable over 10 years. The company, which provides underground mine contracting and engineering services, said it could employ as many as 422 people in Utah earning an average of $65,000 annually.

In a statement, Cementation USA president Mike Nadon confirmed Friday that the company would open a U.S. headquarters office in Utah. State officials said the company is now deciding among several sites in Salt Lake County.

--A $500,000 incentive for Spirit Productions, which wants to produce a feature film called "If the Spirit Moves You." Producer is John Kelly, who also produced "The World's Fastest Indian," a 2005 film starring Anthony Hopkins and filmed in Utah.

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