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City, County Approve GE Incentives

City, County Approve GE Incentives
Posted Monday, June 23rd 2014 @ 3pm  by 700WLW News

(Cincinnati) -- General Electric made it official, Monday morning: They will build their US Global Operations Center at The Banks.  Their decision was finalized as the City Council and Hamilton County Commissioners signed off on an incentive package designed to draw the company to what has been described as the largest public-private partnership in the country.

GE already has 7,500 employees at its plant in Evendale.  The new facility will be the headquarters for their North American operations headquarters, with at least 1,800 employees working in finance, IT, law, procurement and human resources.  The average annual salary will be about $79,000, with the total payroll at the center estimated to be $1,420,000.

The office space will cover 340,000 square feet, at Phase II of The Banks, with the company spending an estimated $90,000,000 on the facility.

Construction on the Global Operations Center is expected later this year, with completion scheduled for late in 2016.  It will be one of five centers around the world, and the only one in the United States.

GE was considering four sites in the Tri-State: two in Mason, and two in Cincinnati.  The City's Trade and Development Director Jeff McElravy says the City didn't want The Banks and the Oakley Station development to compete against each other, so they offered the same incentives for both.

The City's incentives included a job creation tax credit, worth 85% of the revenues generated by the new jobs.  So, for every dollar the City collects in income tax from GE employees, they'll return $0.85 to the company.  That arrangement is good for 15 years, and General Electric has pledged to stay in Cincinnati for at least 18 years.

The incentive is the largest in the City's history, but Banks negotiator Tom Gabelman says it's definitely worth it, because it's still new revenue for the City, and GE's decision will inspire other companies and businesses to start or relocate in Cincinnati.  Gabelman says they estimate g-e will directly or indirectly create more than 4,200 jobs in Hamilton County in the next four years.

City Council members and County Commmissioners approved the incentives at Great American Ball Park.  Mayor John Cranley says the location was appropriate, because "the bats have come alive", drawing a parallel to the City's economic development efforts, and recent high scoring games from the Cincinnati Reds.

Cranley says the City is playing a strong offense to attract employers.  Last Friday, Catholic Health Partners announced plans to build a new office in Bond Hill, and earlier this month, Cincinnati Bell said they would move into new space Downtown.

Gabelman says the City's decision to build, and complete a streetcar system was a major factor in GE's decision.  He says in one of the first meetings with the company, "the access in terms of transit was very critical.  The fact that the City had committed to do the streetcar was one of the items that they decided was  important for them to move forward in looking at The Banks as a potential location."  But, the General Manager of the Center, Joe Allen, would not commit to any single factor in the corporation's decision.

Allen says they selected Ohio over Texas because of the cooperation from the State of Ohio, and local leaders.  He says The Banks was a very appealing location for what they were trying to develop; a center that would attract talent.

As of July 1, 2014, General Electric will set up a temporary headquarters in the Atrium One building, with about 100 employees, relocated from within Hamilton County.





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