Incentives keep local company in state

LONGMONT — Satellite-image company DigitalGlobe Inc. received an incentive package of up to $4.4 million to create 435 jobs and keep its headquarters in Colorado, according to a spokesman at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Longmont-based DigitalGlobe (NYSE: DGI) is considering new headquarters locations in Broomfield and Westminster, according to Jeff Kraft, the state agency’s director of business funding and incentives.

The site in Broomfield is “build-to-suit”, and the site in Westminster is an “adapt-to-suit” location, Kraft said. In general, a “build-to-suit” site is one where a new building is constructed from the ground, up, while an “adapt-to-suit” site is one where an existing building is remodeled.

DigitalGlobe plans to consolidate its footprint but keep its global headquarters and a “significant employee base” in Colorado, following the company’s 2012 merger with GeoEye Inc. (Nasdaq: GEOY) in a $900 million transaction, Katie Nafius, a DigitalGlobe spokeswoman, said in an email.

Company operations span multiple states, including Longmont and Thornton in Colorado as well as Virginia, Florida, Missouri, California and international locations including Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Amsterdam, London and Singapore.

“(We) are evaluating the locations that will allow our team members to operate most efficiently and support growth consistent with our long-range business plans,” Nafius said in the email.

The $4,359,406 state incentive package was approved Thursday, June 13, by the Colorado Economic Development Commission and will be delivered to the company through state income tax credits, Kraft said. The commission is part of the state economic development office, which is a public entity funded through the governor’s office.

Economic development officials in Longmont have offered DigitalGlobe a package of incentives to stay in Longmont, said John Cody, president and chief executive of the Longmont Area Economic Council.

The incentive package may include property tax rebates, rebated government fees and operational discounts, including electricity that is estimated to be 15 percent to 30 percent less expensive than other places in the metro area and broadband service estimated to be up to 50 percent less expensive, Cody said. Electricity and some broadband services in Longmont are run by the city.

DigitalGlobe representatives have said they’re looking for executive-level talent for the multibillion-dollar company and are experiencing some resistance to a location in Longmont from current executives who live in south Denver, Cody said.

“They’re looking at moving south,” Cody said. “A number of their current executives live down there and want to reduce their current commute time.”

The company is expected to make a decision on a possible move by the end of July, Cody said.

Most of DigitalGlobe’s more than 700 employees live in Boulder County, Cody said. The company’s current office is about 200,000 square feet in a larger building at 1601 Dry Creek Drive in Longmont, Cody said.

The combined company is now named DigitalGlobe, and some of GeoEye’s executive team has been folded into the new structure, Nafius said.

The company reported a net profit of $39 million for 2012. Its key government EnhancedView contract is “mission critical” to U.S. defense forces, Jeffrey R. Tarr, DigitalGlobe’s chief executive, said in February. The EnhancedView contract makes up 35 percent of company revenue, Tarr said. In all, government contracts make up 50 percent of company revenue, Tarr said.

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