Economy & Economic Development  July 8, 2009

Lightning Hybrids to create 50 jobs with incentives

LOVELAND – Loveland city council Tuesday unanimously approved a new incentive package for a hybrid vehicle startup.

Lightning Hybrids will receive up to $100,000 tied to the creation of 50 primary jobs at its facility in downtown Loveland. The company has projected it will employ 17 research and development professionals by the end of this year and 39 by 2011, with an average salary of $65,000. Additionally, it anticipates creating 51 manufacturing jobs by mid-2010 with the potential to grow to 300 by 2013 — carrying an average wage of around $48,000. The company also projected its 2013 output would include 6,000 cars.

Lightning Hybrids, led by SA Robotics founder Dan Johnson, started in late-2008 with a vision to create a hydraulic hybrid vehicle that looks more like a sports car. Since then, the vision has expanded to include a new division, Hydraulic Hybrid Systems Inc., to develop and manufacture hybrid hydraulic retrofits for the automotive and fleet vehicle markets.

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The incentive package will give the company $50,000 upfront. The company will have 24 months to create and maintain 25 full-time jobs before the second $50,000 is awarded for the creation of an additional 25 full-time positions. The jobs must be maintained for 12 months to qualify, so they must be created by the end of the first 12 months.

“These are jobs that pay 160 percent of the average Larimer County wage,´ said Betsey Hale, business development manager for the city of Loveland.

She added that an economic analysis done by Colorado State University economist Martin Shields showed that the jobs created should provide the city with $173,000 in net new revenue in the first 36 months. The resolution includes a clawback that will require the company to return $2,000 to the city for each position short of 25 it is at the 24-month deadline.

In mid-January, Johnson received unanimous approval from city council and the Loveland Urban Renewal Authority for incentives to redevelop the facility known as Mercury Plaza where Lightning Hybrids does research and development. That package included a $50,000 use tax waiver and a payback of tax increment financing generated by the project of up to $210,000. The redevelopment deal was inked with Johnson as the owner of the building and is not related to the company’s job-creation incentives.

LOVELAND – Loveland city council Tuesday unanimously approved a new incentive package for a hybrid vehicle startup.

Lightning Hybrids will receive up to $100,000 tied to the creation of 50 primary jobs at its facility in downtown Loveland. The company has projected it will employ 17 research and development professionals by the end of this year and 39 by 2011, with an average salary of $65,000. Additionally, it anticipates creating 51 manufacturing jobs by mid-2010 with the potential to grow to 300 by 2013 — carrying an average wage of around $48,000. The company also projected its 2013 output would include…

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