AtriCure selects Mason to build new headquarters

AtriCure made the announcement Tuesday. It follows plans first revealed in January that the company was scouting Butler and Warren counties for a site to build new headquarters, and move from space it currently leases.

The biohealth manufacturer has outgrown its existing facilities, said Mike Carrel, AtriCure president and chief executive officer. A combination of factors, including proximity to where employees currently live, financial incentives and highway accessibility led the company to decide on Mason, Carrel said.

“We did look at going downtown and a couple of other areas, but just quite frankly because of where our employees were located today, the location north of town was important to us,” he said. “It was a matter of finding good space with like companies around us and Mason gave us a good location.”

The growing local company is a medical equipment manufacturer of devices used in heart surgery. Currently, it has headquarter offices, research and development, and manufacturing activities occupying four buildings on Centre Park Drive in West Chester Twp. AtriCure and a predecessor company have leased space there for at least 15 years.

AtriCure employs approximately 280 employees worldwide, including a sales force throughout Europe and the U.S.; offices in Amsterdam and the San Ramon area of California; and roughly 170 employees in West Chester Twp.

Sales grew 17 percent in 2013 from the year before to $81.9 million. This year, revenues are projected to grow another 22 percent to approximately $100 million.

Also last year, 40 new employees were hired, and another 25 are anticipated to be hired in 2014, according to AtriCure.

But AtriCure reported a wider net loss to end 2013 of $11.5 million, compared to negative earnings in 2012 of $7.5 million.

“We could be a profitable model,” Carrel said.

“We’re a high-tech company investing in a long-term future. We’re going to see exponential growth,” he said. “Those are planned losses” as the company invests in research, clinical trials, and product education.

Construction starts later this year in Mason on AtriCure’s new two-story, 85,000-square-foot “state-of-the-art” corporate headquarters, on a 10.5 acre campus on Innovation Way. The future Mason offices will house 200 science and technology employees within five years of opening, according to a joint city and company announcement.

Mason City Council approved Monday $2.9 million worth of financial incentives over a 15-year period that includes property tax abatements and workforce wellness incentives, according to the city. The package includes an incentive loan from the Mason Port Authority; after meeting commitments for employment growth, loan payments are forgiveable, said Michele Blair, Mason economic development director.

Council also approved the sale of city-owned land to the company for the project for about $640,000.

There is a growing cluster of biohealth, information technology and advanced manufacturing companies that have located in Mason at this key highway interchange of Western Row Road and Interstate 71 including Luxottica’s EyeMed, Stress Engineering’s Medical Device Division, the Lindner Center of HOPE and Seapine Software, Blair said. AtriCure is the type of company in the niche biohealth industry that Mason is trying to attract, in a targeted area for investment in the city, she said.

Mason city officials are planning for more development of retail, hotels and other amenities to provide services to companies in the Western Row Road, Innovation Way and I-71 area, which is being referred to as the OakPark District.

“The one thing I would really like to emphasize is the importance of AtriCure to keep its company here in Mason and the region,” Blair said.

“It reinforces that Mason and the region have the talent and the attention of the investors of like companies to grow their company here. We have all the building blocks here for a biohealth company to grow here,” she said.

AtriCure’s plans in Mason also represents the second announcement in as many days of a corporate headquarters leaving West Chester Twp. Food manufacturer AdvancePierre Foods Inc. on Monday said it plans to more corporate offices to Blue Ash, but also open a new administrative support center in West Chester where it has a major meat processing plant.

Township officials say they’re disappointed in AtriCure’s decision to relocate, but the township is confident it was as competitive as it could be in trying to retain this “home-grown” company while still being responsible stewards of taxpayers’ dollars. “AtriCure thrived and flourished in West Chester’s diverse and established corporate environment,” according to the township, which congratulated the company on its success.

“Companies focused on innovation, research and technology will find an exceptional and welcoming business climate here with leadership focused on sustainability, a well-qualified workforce with growing opportunities for workforce development, a prestigious and established corporate community, no earnings tax and unmatched access to the region,” Larry Brueshaber, president of the West Chester Development Council, said in a statement.

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