(b) With respect to each eligible company making an application to the development office for a tourism development project tax credit or a tourism development expansion project tax credit, the development office shall make inquiries and request documentation, including a completed application, from the applicant that shall include: A description and location of the project; capital and other anticipated expenditures for the project and the sources of funding therefor; the anticipated employment and wages to be paid at the project; business plans that indicate the average number of days in a year in which the project will be in operation and open to the public; and the anticipated revenues and expenses generated by the project. The executive director of the development office shall act to grant or not to grant any preliminary approval of an application within forty-five days following its receipt or receipt of additional information requested by the development office, whichever is later.
(c) Based upon a review of the application and additional documentation provided by the eligible company, if the executive director of the development office determines that the applicant and the project may reasonably satisfy the criteria for final approval set forth in subsection (d) of this section, then the executive director of the development office may grant a preliminary approval of the applicant and the project.
(d) After preliminary approval by the executive director of the development office, the development office shall engage the services of a competent consulting firm or firms to analyze the data made available by the applicant and to collect and analyze additional information necessary to determine that, in the independent judgment of the consultant, the project:
(1) Likely will attract at least twenty-five percent of its visitors from outside of this state;
(2) Will have approved costs in excess of one million dollars;
(3) Will have a significant and positive economic impact on the state considering, among other factors, the extent to which the project will compete directly with or complement existing tourism attractions in the state and the amount by which increased tax revenues from the project will exceed the credit given to the approved company;
(4) Will produce sufficient revenues and public demand to be operating and open to the public for a minimum of one hundred days per year; and
(5) Will provide additional employment opportunities in the state.
(e) The applicant shall pay to the development office, prior to the engagement of the services of a competent consulting firm or firms pursuant to the provisions of subsection (d) of this section, for the cost of the consulting report or reports and shall cooperate with the consulting firm or firms to provide all of the data that the consultant considers necessary or convenient to make its determination under subsection (d) of this section.
(f) The executive director of the development office, within sixty days following receipt of the consultant's final, written report or reports, shall review, in light of the consultant's report or reports, the reasonableness of the project's budget and timetable for completion and, in addition to the criteria for final approval set forth in subsection (d) of this section, the following criteria:
(1) The quality of the proposed project and how it addresses economic problems in the area in which the project will be located;
(2) Whether there is substantial and credible evidence that the project is likely to be started and completed in a timely fashion;
(3) Whether the project will, directly or indirectly, improve the opportunities in the area where the project will be located for the successful establishment or expansion of other industrial or commercial businesses;
(4) Whether the project will, directly or indirectly, assist in the creation of additional employment opportunities in the area where the project will be located;
(5) Whether the project helps to diversify the local economy;
(6) Whether the project is consistent with the goals of this article;
(7) Whether the project is economically and fiscally sound using recognized business standards of finance and accounting; and
(8) The ability of the eligible company to carry out the project.
(g) The development office may establish other criteria for consideration when approving the applications.
(h) The executive director of the development office may give its final approval to the applicant's application for a project and may grant to the applicant the status of an approved company. The executive director of the development office shall act to approve or not approve any application within sixty days following the receipt of the consultant's final, written report or reports or the receipt of any additional information requested by the development office, whichever is later. The decision by the executive director of the development office is final.