MILTON — Project Runner is the code name for a distribution company wanting to move into the I-10 Industrial Park at the intersection of Highway 87 and I-10. The Santa Rosa County Commission has approved an incentive package for the company.

Shannon Ogletree, director of the Economic Development Office presented an incentive package aimed at attracting Project Runner for commissioner's approval at a Sept. 24, meeting. Ogletree said the company wants to build a 350,000-square-foot facility on a 50-acre site at the industrial park.

"It's pretty exciting for things that are going on in terms of economic developments in Santa Rosa County," Ogletree said.

Ogletree's office has been engaged with the company since 2016, according to county documents. The documents also say that recent discussions resulted in the company requesting to move forward with an incentive package for their operations. The incentive package is essential to move forward with the project. Other sites the company has looked at are Birmingham and New Orleans.

On Sept. 27, commissioners approved the incentive package. This is what the county will provide for Project Runner:

A 20 percent local match for the State Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax refund for Project Runner in the amount of $240,000, an amount to be spread‐out over 6 to 8 years. A 50‐acre site at the Northwest Florida Industrial Park @ I‐10 at no‐cost to Project Runner, an estimated land value $2.5 million. A 10‐year property tax exemption on all tangible personal property and real property on Santa Rosa County millage, an estimated 10‐year value $2.5 million. In return, Project Runner would provide:

A 350,000-square-foot facility. An expected 400 jobs at startup and 600 jobs when established. Annual salaries of $46,000, 115 percent more than the county average. A $40 million capital investment in the county. If Project Runner does come to the industrial park, it will be one of the largest private employers in the area according to Ogletree.

Ogletree's office is submitting a Triumph Pre-Application Submittal and I-10 Application Revision to offset the tax exemption in the incentive package. Legally the county cannot exempt school district and water management taxes. They will ask for the funds from Triumph to make up the $272,000 per year in taxes.

With the significant capital investment from Project Runner, the county will also revise their I-10 infrastructure application and reduce the scope from $5 million to $3 million, according to Ogletree.

"Location was key. Product (land, inventory), and workforce, put those three things together (and) you have a good product to promote," commissioner Don Salter said.