Whitehall will soon welcome a "landmark facility," announced Development Director Dan Lorek during the Feb. 12 City Council meeting.
In late April or early May ground will be broken for a 216,000 square- foot FedEx Ground System package distribution center on Poth Road, according to Lorek. The location is expected to be up and running by June, 2009.
It will create 20 new full-time and 334 part-time jobs, and relocate 20 full-time and 45 part-time jobs from the Grove City and Groveport locations, for a total of 419 positions within six years after construction begins.
The total annual payroll is estimated at $8,718,093.
Land acquisition will cost the company $1.95 million, and construction of the new building is estimated at $13.6 million. Along with machining and equipment at $14.7 million, the total investment is $30,250,000.
Labor costs are anticipated to range between 40 percent-60 percent of the building project. A temporary construction payroll of around $6.8 million will generate $136,000 in local income taxes.
The purchase of vacant land will increase real property taxes $11,899 a year.
The $13.6 million in new construction will increase real property taxes $212,931 a year, and the 419 jobs will increase income taxes $174,362 a year.
The city is to share 50 percent of the annual tax collection, attributable to the project by the payroll of new employees equal to or greater than $1 million, with the Whitehall and Eastland Vocational school districts.
Approval by both school districts is mandatory because of the tax abatement. Lorek is hoping to get them to waive their 45-day grace period.
Lorek agreed that this will more than likely attract more businesses to the reinvestment area, along with creating new jobs with substantial incomes. He assured council that he is encouraging FedEx to hire Whitehall residents, but cannot make them promise to do so.
The center will provide business-to-business and business-to- residential services, meaning smaller delivery trucks will usually be seen, rather than semi traffic. The property will be leased from the developer, Scannell Properties.
"The project represents real property improvements, employment opportunities and tax revenue from development investment in the area," said Lorek. "The proposed tax abatement structure, 100 percent for year one, declining 10 percent per year to 10 percent in year ten, or a term average of 55 percent on new construction completed, is consistent with the city’s development incentive policies."
He said that it not only meets, but exceeds, those policies.
Due to lot splits in the area, the former Oasis building is now a stand-alone property. There are also 20 acres to the north of the building between the structure and railroad tracks available for development.
Thanks to steady growth in deliveries, FedEx is in the process of a $1.8 billion network expansion plan that includes nine new hubs, and the relocation or expansion of about 300 pickup and delivery terminals through 2010.
The nationwide expansion will boost the current average daily pickup capacity by about 70 percent to five million packages per day.
In other business, City Attorney Michael Shannon announced that the owners of the former Swimland are cooperating, and he anticipates it to be demolished within 90 days.
Also, an uninhabitable house was torn down the week of Feb. 4, and about four more will soon be demolished.