Jacksonville welcomes Macquarie Group
Lenny Curry, Councilwoman Katrina Brown, Mike McLaughlin

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The sun shone brightly outside the Jax Chamber building, and inside the dispositions were no less sunny, as Jacksonville welcomed the Australian Macquarie Group to town. The company, in choosing Jacksonville for its southeastern operations, says it will bring 123 financial sector jobs to the Bold New City of the South.

Saying he wished there could be “one of these events every day,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry joked that a conversation about rugby over dinner sealed the deal for the company deciding on Jacksonville. He also said it will bring the kind of financial sector jobs that are “exactly what Jacksonville needs.”

Mike McLaughlin, the U.S. head of Macquarie, noted that the Jacksonville relocation was the result of a “robust search” involving 20 potential locations globally.

The city made a “very compelling business case,” McLaughlin said.

City Council President Greg Anderson quipped that “if you haven’t guessed, this is Project Post,” referring to the incentive deal approved unanimously by Jacksonville’s City Council on Tuesday.

Anderson echoed Curry’s sentiments about these jobs being ideal for Jacksonville’s future.

Audrey Moran, chairwoman-elect of the Chamber, described the “team effort” that brought Macquarie to town, which included a dinner with executives at Ponte Vedra Beach.

Moran noted that “this group was on fire” and “thrilled” about Jacksonville.

She said that Macquarie and its employees would “engage in the community,” contributing to Jacksonville’s social fabric.

“This is a company with heart. They could have gone anywhere,” Moran said.

They chose Jacksonville.

After the event, Florida Politics spoke with Mayor Curry. He stated that corporate moves like this one are vital because they create a “multiplier effect.”

And there is, of course, an ongoing effort to bring more companies like it to town.

Asked whether businesses moving downtown is a specifically desired outcome, and whether incentives will be involved to make that happen, Curry said, “Incentives are always on the table, but they have to make sense for the taxpayers.”

Curry’s comments jibe with those made before the event by Downtown Investment Authority head Aundra Wallace, who discussed how Charlotte came to dominate the financial sector in recent decades. Charlotte had a concerted plan that transcended the political scrum.

It seems that Jacksonville has something similar.

A company like Macquarie coming to Jacksonville is an obvious win for the mayor, the Chamber, and City Council. Much of the momentum for this move predated Curry’s inauguration, and if all goes well, corporate energy like this will catalyze processes that are felt long after Mayor Curry and Jacksonville’s City Council members’ terms conclude.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski



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