Kentucky is among several states being considered for an expansion by Lockheed Martin. If the state is chosen, the company would add 224 jobs to its operations at Bluegrass Station at Avon in eastern Fayette County.
On Thursday, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved tax incentives totaling more than $15 million to sway the defense contractor.
"We're very hopeful the project will occur in Kentucky and look forward to working with them as they make their decision," said Mandy Lambert, spokeswoman for the state Cabinet for Economic Development.
Heather Kelly, a spokeswoman for the company, said the company appreciated the preliminary approval.
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"This approval is an initial step and will play a significant role in our decision to pursue this project in Kentucky," she said. "We are in the process of evaluating options. ... We look forward to announcing a final decision soon."
There are about 1,800 workers at Bluegrass Station that work for Lockheed Martin or other companies with which it contracts.
Lockheed Martin representatives told the state the jobs would pay $21.58 hourly, including benefits. The company's total investment in the project would be $26 million.
The costs eligible for Kentucky Business Investment tax incentives totaled $15 million over a 10-year period, making it a somewhat rare case in which the state has agreed essentially to fully fund the eligible parts of the project through incentives.
In general, when a company is approved for tax incentives, it can keep that amount of money, which it would otherwise pay in taxes, assuming it fulfills the terms of the deal.
As part of the terms of the proposed package, the state will require Lockheed Martin to maintain employment of at least 1,705 workers full-time at the site. It also would have to maintain 90 percent of its other employees statewide.
The project is linked to a government military contract that Lockheed announced it had been awarded in June. That contract was said to be worth as much as $5 billion and was for logistics services in support of the U.S. Special Operations Command. It's expected to last through March 2018, according to a Department of Defense statement.