We at Guns.com are expecting a follow-up with Colt on this story, more details to come soon.
Colt, one of the most recognized and prestigious small arms firms, may be renewing their interests in expanding in Florida.
The company first announced their intentions to add a shop in Kissimmee, Florida, in late 2011. The deal was delayed at such length that the people involved with the arrangement assumed it had fallen through.
Right now Colt is being quiet about the arrangement but Osecola county commissioners approved of the landlord agreement for the building expected to house the Colt facility. The agreement is with a Colt lender and not Colt itself.
“It’s a positive sign,” said county commissioner Fred Hawkins Jr. to the Orlando Sentinel. “I’m very encouraged.”
The 16,000 square-foot Shady Lane building was refit for Colt back in 2011, an effort costing the county and the state $550,000. To-date, the building has been unoccupied.
Kissimmee is a city of about 60,000 on the outskirts of Orlando. The 2011 arrangement called for 63 jobs to be added at the new Colt facility with average wages of $45,060, well above the Kissimmee average.
At the time, Colt and Florida Gov. Rick Scott celebrated the announcement.
“As a supporter of new job creation and the Second Amendment, this announcement sends the clear message that Florida is both open for business and a defender of our right to bear arms,” Scott said more than a year ago. “My primary responsibility as governor is to be our state’s chief advocate for job creation. My personal involvement in bringing Colt to Florida demonstrates my administration’s deep commitment to rebuilding our economy.”
“Florida offered a strong pro-business incentive package,” said Colt CEO M. William Keys. ”Coupled with the low cost of doing business in Florida and a favorable regulatory environment, opening this new facility was very attractive to us.”
If the arrangement between Colt and Florida remains the same, then the company will be able to rent the building for just $1 a year, renovations and all. Together these state and county incentives are worth over $1 million. If Colt does not open the facility by December of this year they will have to pay back all the incentives, as they were expected to have the new factory last June.
Colt has been a longtime leader in firearms and until very recently was the primary supplier of M4s to the U.S. Army, and currently supplies rifles and carbines to the Canadian military. They also manufacture the M45 CQBP for Marine Corps special forces.
Even without military contracts there is plenty of demand for Colt products. Right now, no manufacturer can make guns fast enough, and a Colt expansion will be well-received, provided they can open its doors while the gun market is skyrocketing.
Colt Defense, the company’s military branch, and Colt Manufacturing, their commercial branch, recently reunited. Expectations are high for the company, as they have been successful merging build quality with proven designs.
Time will tell what the new facility will manufacture; it could possibly even be something serpentine.