Cocoa hopes to lure Walmart distribution center, jobs

- Hundreds of jobs could come to Cocoa, as the city tries to strike a deal with Walmart. 

State Road 524 near Interstate 95 has long been seen by the city as an area ripe for commercial growth. The city is now putting millions of dollars of cash on the table, to incentivize retail giant Walmart build a distribution center at the location.  

The property is owned by Port Canaveral, and there's plenty of room for the proposed 460,000-square-foot facility.  "This property would be a great catalyst for ffuture economic development," said City Manager John Titkanich.

Titkanich also says there's a labor force here that's ready and willing to fill the 239 jobs Walmart would bring, paying an average of $42-000 a year.  "This is supposed to be a state-of-the-art distribution center and warehousing, and we are looking forward to the jobs that come with it, and the economic benefit and to be employed by Walmart."

Walmart is weighing the Cocoa site against several other locations in Florida and Southern Georgia, so the city and county have put together an aggressive incentive package for the retailer, totaling $4.6 million.  

Included is Cocoa's portion, which is mostly upfront cash, tied to performance benchmarks.  "I think that helps sweeten the deal for Wal-Mart and for us accelerates the return on investment and yields more annual ad valorem revenue, and continue to improve existing quality of life," said Titkanich.

The tax incentives were expected to pass at Tuesday's City Commission meeting. 

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