From electric planes to hemp bioplastics, Colorado offers $7M in incentives

Five diverse companies received approval from the Colorado Economic Development Commission on Thursday for up to $6.94 million in state tax incentives tied to the creation of 745 new jobs along the northern Front Range.

The largest award of $2.95 million in job growth incentive tax credits went to Project Galvanic, a Colorado-based maker of electric planes looking at locating a $24.5 million manufacturing facility in either Centennial or Jefferson County. The company expects to add 433 net new jobs, mostly in manufacturing and paying an average annual wage of $80,014. Other cities in the running include Greensboro, N.C.; Lansing, Mich., and Madison, Wis.

“This project would support the state’s economic goals by adding to the density of aerospace companies in Colorado, creating high-paying jobs in aerospace, one of the most important industries to Colorado’s economy,” Michelle Hadwiger, director of global business development for the Colorado Office of Economic Development told members of the EDC.

As is typical with most incentive awards, the company’s name wasn’t disclosed to the public. Bye Aerospace is Colorado’s most famous electric plane maker. The Centennial company has developed a training plane that allows aspiring pilots to obtain the hours they need at a much lower cost for flight time and is also working on business aircraft that can carry more passengers.

But Bye has many more employees than the nine employees listed at Project Galvanic. The XTI Aircraft Company, also in Arapahoe County, is a younger firm that is developing the TriFan 600, a hybrid electric business aircraft that can take off and land vertically on buildings like a helicopter and travel between 700 to 900 miles. It has a backlog of more than 300 orders but doesn’t expect to deliver its planes until 2027.

The next largest award at $2.76 million went to Project Sprout, a United Kingdom maker of vertical or indoor farming equipment and technology that is looking to set up a base of operations to serve customers in North America. Washington and Massachusetts are also in the running.

“Operating our first station in the U.S. is a real challenge,” said Lawrence Ross, the chief product officer at Intelligent Growth Solutions, the company behind Project Sprout.

IGS is considering Larimer County for 114 net new jobs paying an average annual wage of $98,991. The positions include engineers, supply chain managers, and staff in human resources, legal, marketing and sales. Of the company’s 180 employees currently, only one is based in Colorado.

Project Hudson, an Indianapolis-based development and construction company specializing in multi-family projects, is looking at Denver, as well as Phoenix and Indianapolis, for a new regional headquarters. Of the company’s 185 current employees, 88 are already in Lone Tree.

It received approval for $642,569 in job growth incentive tax credits tied to the creation of 129 jobs. Those jobs would pay an average annual wage of $111, 526.

“Expanding housing inventory is critical to maintaining economic growth in our state,” Hadwiger said.

The EDC awarded two smaller incentive packages to Colorado companies looking to expand. Project Dunia, a maker of hemp-based bioplastics that are compostable and can be used in injection molding applications, is looking to add a new manufacturing line in Weld County that would require a $20 million investment and employ 28 people at an average annual wage of $55,432. It is eligible for up to $203,313 in state tax credits if it picks Weld County over a location inTexas.

Project Spike, in metro Denver, received $383,100 in job growth incentive tax credits in return for creating 41 new jobs paying an average annual wage of $96,732. The company, which currently has 21 employees, makes materials for the medical device industry.

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