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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 5 years ago

ECN buys $1.6 million Reflections building, pledges to hire 30 by 2015

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The city awarded $92,500 to the Emergency Communication Network in job-creation incentives, in order for the company to stay in the city and relocate to West Granada Boulevard.

BY WAYNE GRANT | STAFF WRITER

It’s good for the city to attract new businesses that will create jobs and boost the economy, but it’s just as valuable to retain existing companies, especially in important business corridors. That was the sentiment of city leaders as they approved an incentive deal last week that kept the Emergency Communications Network in Ormond Beach.

ECN has purchased the Reflections One office building, at 780 W. Granada Blvd., for $1.6 million. The building is meant to accommodate future growth. ECN will relocate there from its current facility at Ormond Beach Airport Business Park.

The move to Granada Boulevard by ECN brings a company with professional jobs to an area that lost business activity when Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center moved to Williamson Boulevard in 2009.

“It’s a big win for the city,” City Commissioner Bill Partington told ECN executives at the Aug. 7 Ormond Beach City Commission meeting. “You provide a valuable service that saves lives, and we want  you here.”

ECN sells systems nationwide that enable governments, schools and businesses to send critical communications to constituents by telephone, text or email. The Code Red system in Ormond Beach is an example.

In the agreement, the city will provide $92,500 to the company. In return, ECN will hire 30 employees at an average annual wage of $55,000 by 2015. It will also invest $1.25 million into renovating the property.

Charles Lichtigman, CEO of Charles Wayne Properties, which brokered the sale of the building, said ECN is the type of industry that is needed in Ormond Beach.

“Since (General Electric) pulled out, we haven’t had anything this good,” he said.

GE closed its Daytona Beach facility in the mid-1990s.

City Commissioner James Stowers also supported the deal.

“It’s going in the core of the city where we lost the hospital,” he said of ECN's relocation. “We’re keeping a business that might have explosive growth.”

City Economic Development Director Joe Mannarino said he worked hard to keep the business in Ormond Beach.

“It’s a tremendous project,” he said. “I had a challenge to find space for a company with high-wage jobs.”

He also said the planned refurbishment of the building will improve property values in the area.

David Digiacomo, president and CEO of ECN, said the company searched for 16 months for the right location.

“We wanted to stay in Ormond Beach,” he said. “Many of our management staff are longtime residents.”

He added that the Ormond Beach location will help recruit staff from other areas, as well. The company currently has 65 employees at its local facility; it has a facility in Minnesota, as well.

With efficient use of space on the top two floors, which ECN plans to occupy, the business will able to handle future growth, Digiacomo said. Currently, the first floor is occupied by other businesses, but that space could also provide room for future growth, he said.

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