Thursday, October 19, 2000

County approves tax breaks for Gap

Center to bring 820 jobs

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County commissioners gave approval to real estate and property tax breaks that will bring an $87 million Gap Inc. distribution center to Harrison Township for the company's Banana Republic stores.

        The total investment in the new facility, including inventory, will be $375 million. It will bring 820 full-time jobs in the first three years, with a payroll of more than $26 million.

        The center is scheduled to open in summer 2002. After five years, the number of jobs is expected to grow to 996.

        Gap Inc. will receive a 60 percent tax exemption for 10 years. Even with the tax break, the company will pay $550,000 per year in taxes. After the abatements end, the amount of tax paid will jump to $1.38 million per year.

        Commissioners said the distribution center will act as an anchor and spur other development in the area.

        “There will certainly be a ripple effect,” Commissioner John Dowlin said.

        The center will be at Interstate 74 and Dry Fork Road. It will have 675,000 square feet of warehouse space and 130,000 square feet for administration and technical support.

        Randy Whitaker, director of real estate for the Gap's distribution division, said the company conducted a seven-state search before settling on Hamilton County. Other finalist sites were in New York and Pennsylvania.

        Gap will relocate from its Hebron warehouse. Company officials started looking for a bigger space in February. They talked to economic development leaders in Kentucky and Ohio about receiving tax incentives.

        “We're pretty much landlocked right now,” Mr. Whitaker said. “The land out there (in Harrison Township) will be a little less costly for us to build on because it's very flat.”

        The Gap needs more distribution space to accommodate an aggressive expansion plan. The retailer increased the number of stores it plans to open this year to 700, up from 640.

        Construction will begin in January.


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