Bidding War for Piper Heats Up

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Indian River County and the city of Vero Beach, Fla., have upped the ante to keep Piper Aircraft in Vero Beach and that presumably has kept the company's current home town in the running for an increasingly high-stakes competition for the storied planemaker. According to TCPalm.com The civic governments have approved a package that includes the purchase of the existing factory for $23 million and construction of a new facility for manufacturing the PiperJet at a cost of $17 million, which would be leased back to Piper rent-free for eight years. The state is also chipping in $20 million.

In the ninth year of the lease, Piper would pay $2.5 million in rent and in year 10 it would go up to $3.4 million, after which increases would be based on the consumer price index. Piper announced last week that it had dropped Tallahassee, Fla., and Columbia, S.C., from its list of potential sites and now Vero Beach, Albuquerque, N.M., and Oklahoma City, Okla., are the only places in the running. Albuquerque and New Mexico are reportedly offering about $70 million in incentives and Oklahoma about $35 million -- in cash. After the jet plant is operational, Piper will employ more than 1,500 workers.