Did Vestas meet job growth requirements for HQ loan?
By Erik Siemers
Vestas' requirements to create jobs to qualify for state funds were met long before it opened the doors of its new headquarters.
When Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas announced plans to invest $66 million to renovate a historic Pearl District building for its new North American headquarters, it was praised as a public-private partnership that will both retain and create new green jobs.
Among the incentives it received from the state was a $1 million forgivable loan from the governor’s strategic reserve fund. But in order for the loan to be forgivable, Vestas was required to add 102 jobs within a five-year period and sustain that level of employment for eight consecutive quarters.
If it failed, the company would be required to pay back a portion of that money.
When it announced its headquarters plans on Aug. 18, 2010, Vestas said it had 400 local employees. Based on that, Vestas would have been required to grow that total to above 500 and sustain it for essentially two years.
But in the time since that announcement, its employment has only shrunk.
Today, the company says it has fewer than 300 workers, and earlier this month it announced plans to cut another 2,000 jobs worldwide.
So is Vestas at risk of having to pay back the state funds?
According to Business Oregon, the state’s economic development division, the answer is no.
Marc Zolton, a spokesman for the agency, said Vestas fulfilled its job-creation obligation on Sept. 30, 2010 — less than a month after the company first announced plans for its project.
No, Vestas didn’t miraculously create 102 jobs in three weeks and then magically compress time to keep that level for eight weeks.
Zolton said the state’s deal required Vestas to create those new jobs within a five-year period dating back to when the state began negotiations with the company. In this case, the start date was October 1, 2008.
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.