Rapid growth and a newly-approved tax abatement have led an area financial institution to expand its presence in West Chester Twp., adding new jobs to the growing Butler County community and a new 10-story building to its skyline.
Kemba Credit Union will consolidate its operations in the region by constructing a 90,000-square-foot corporate headquarters on nearly seven acres of undeveloped land along Chappell Crossing Boulevard next to its existing corporate headquarters at 8763 Union Centre Blvd.
The project will create 40 new full-time jobs with an average salary of $40,000 for a total $1.6 million in additional payroll.
FIRST REPORT: West Chester recommends tax break for company to expand headquarters, add jobs
The announcement follows the approval last week by Butler County of a seven-year, 75 percent property tax abatement through the enterprise zone program. JobsOhio also plans to provide assistance for the project, which will be made public once a final agreement is executed, according to JobsOhio spokesman Matt Englehart.
Total investment in the project is estimated at $9.3 million, with $8 million allocated for property investment and $1.3 million for new machinery and equipment, township officials said.
The project is an important one for Butler County because it means being able to retain 108 employees and an existing payroll of approximately $6.8 million dollars, according to David Fehr, Butler County’s development director.
“These are high wage jobs we want to keep,” Fehr told this news outlet. “It’s easier to keep companies here and growing than to attach someone from another city. Obviously, the 40 new jobs are very important. Because the project is multi-story, the property value generated per acre will be tremendous.”
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Using a tax abatement as an incentive for the Kemba to remain in West Chester means the township and Butler County will not miss out on any tax revenue, he said.
“If the project doesn’t happen, there’s no new taxes generated,” Fehr said. “We are simply agreeing to collect less tax on the front end and will collect the full amount at the end of the abatement term.”
Founded in 1934 to serve the needs of employees of the Kroger Company, the credit union manages assets in excess of $725 million throughout Southwest Ohio and serves more than 98,000 members and 840 companies through its network of 11 branches.
Of the company’s 208 employees, 108 work at its West Chester headquarters, which opened in 2007. After continued growth and acquisitions, Kemba Credit Union experienced “a significant increase” in members and the growth of its current headquarters to its capacity.
Front-office operations for the company are in several locations throughout the Tri-State area and Kemba plans to consolidate those operations into its new headquarters. The existing facility would retain its retail branch on the first floor and provide leasing opportunities for other office tenants exploring West Chester.
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Kemba Credit Union’s plan to grow its corporate headquarters in West Chester showcases the community’s strength as a Class-A office hub in the region, according to Aaron Wiegand, the township’s economic development director.
Kemba first reached out to West Chester Twp. via the company’s designated representative, GBQ Partners, in May “so for economic development, this deal came together fairly quickly,” Wiegand said.
The company considered several locations for its new headquarters but chose to expand next to its Union Centre Boulevard headquarters. Trustees last month voted to recommend terms of a enterprise zone agreement to the Butler County Board of Commissioners, which voted Oct. 22 to approve the agreement.
“Financial services employ more than 57,000 in the region and we’re thrilled that Kemba Credit Union is growing within the thriving ecosystem of financial services headquarters in Greater Cincinnati,” said Kimm Lauterbach, president and CEO of Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Cincinnati.
Kemba Credit Union is thankful for the collaboration between West Chester Twp., Butler County and REDI Cincinnati, according to Dan Sutton, Kemba’s president and CEO.
“As we expand, we’re confident that the Cincinnati region’s diverse workforce and vibrant economy will continue to offer us the resources needed to support our current and future members,” Sutton said.
Valentina Isakina, JobsOhio managing director for financial services, said Kemba Credit Union’s investment in West Chester is an example of how financial institutions are building long-term success in Ohio.
The company’s continued investment in Butler County is a testament to the region’s commitment to “working at the speed of business and being a good partner,” according to Cindy Carpenter, president of the Butler County Commission.
“Butler County has been leading the state in job growth as well as wage growth, and this announcement signals a continuation of our incredible development and that we get things done,” Carpenter said.
West Chester Township President Lee Wong said the township looks forward to Kemba’s continued growth throughout the Tri-State region.
“Kemba’s decision to plant its roots even deeper and grow in West Chester highlights the sustained desirability of Union Centre and West Chester as a premier location for corporate headquarters and Class A office space,” Wong said.
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