A deal designed to bring the bio-medical company Torrey Pines to Tallahassee appears to have fallen through. The company has not made an official announcement and calls to Torrey Pines were not immediately returned. However, the Leon County Economic Development Council says it made the call Friday morning to say the deal may not work.
The EDC says it was close. Tallahassee's quality of life and universities putting the community head to head with Port St. Lucie to attract the Torrey Pines Institute of Molecular Studies, but when it came down to money the EDC says Tallahassee fell short. Bill Law, Chairman of the EDC says, "We're sad to lose it. That was a tough call to call out to Torrey Pines to indicate that we weren't going to meet the targets." Law says with a little more time, it may have been possible. However, there was a September 5th deadline looming and time ran out.
Law says, "The reality was when we had enough money for a building
plan, we were a little shy on cash incentives." Law says Torrey Pines was asking Tallahassee, Leon County and FSU to build a $40 million facility, along with additional financial support. Even with the state putting up $25 million, Law says the EDC couldn't come up with the $20 million it needed in the short amount of time. The deal has been in the works for three weeks. He says, "I think we've set the ground to try it again for the next one." FSU says the opportunity is helping to put the community on the forefront. Lee Hinkle, FSU's Vice President of University Relations says, 'I think the table has been set and if any other bio-tech companies are interested, we think we've got wonderful proposals to offer them as well." Bill Law adds that it's fair to say in the past, the Tallahassee area was not seen as a serious player with deals sometimes stuck in local government fights. However, that outlook is changing.
The Leon County-Tallahasee Economic Development Council says the company was estimated to bring about $250 million to the local economy and nearly 200 jobs.