Tuesday, September 26, 2000

Gibson space touted


Tenant can use tax incentive

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        AMBERLEY VILLAGE — When the Gibson Greeting Card Co. closed in November, it left a 593,000-square-foot building vacant on 54 acres and created a vacuum in the heart of the village business district.

        The company was bought by the American Greeting Card Co. of Cleveland, which says it has no use for the building.

        Not only did the village lose 400 employees, but the $1 million in tax revenue Gibson paid was a quarter of the village budget.

        Now village officials struggle to fill the void created among its 58 businesses, and look for ways to replace the lost revenue.

        “We had anticipated the loss of Gibson so we started building up a reserve fund,” said Mayor Marianne Pressman. “But we are having to dig into our reserve to meet expenses for upkeep of parks and road repairs.”

        Talk of Gibson's closing surfaced three years ago, about the same time the village was getting a new municipal building.

        Ms. Pressman said officials had discussed using the $4 million reserve fund to pay for the building. But council members decided to pass a bond issue for the $4.1 million village hall.

        “The bond money solved the village hall problem, but now with the Gibson building vacant we are looking for ways to increase our revenue. We don't want this building to stay vacant very long,” Ms. Pressman said.

        The Hamilton County Development Co. (HCDC) has created an enterprise zone program for the village to offer tax incentives for businesses. The Gibson building sits in the southwest part of the zone at 2100 Section Road. The zone covers parts of Amberley Village and extends into Golf Manor.

        Bernard Boraten, village manager, thinks the tax incentives will generate business interest.

        “What we are looking for is someone to sublease the Gibson building from the American Greeting Card Co.,” Mr. Boraten said. “Under the enterprise zone arrangement, we are able to abate part of the property taxes. We hope that will attract businesses here.”

        Harry Blanton, coordinator of HCDC, said businesses that locate in the zone will get tax exemptions on renovations or on new structures.

        The future is not gloomy, said Neal Sundermann, manager of Cincinnati Commercial Realtors.

        Mr. Sundermann said he is talking with several companies about the Gibson building.

       



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