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GE facility projected to have one billion dollar impact

CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- GE brings good things to Cincinnati, namely jobs.

Jobs means money, in this case lots of money.  But the city, Hamilton County and state of Ohio will kick in lots of money as well, financial incentives to bring the 10-story office building to town.
   
City council and the county commission both approved the deal Monday.  Ohio edged out Texas for the shared services center.  The question then became where in Ohio?  GE narrowed it down to sites in Mason, Oakley and The Banks.  The winner was The Banks.

Cincinnati city council member Christopher Smitherman said, "This is a very good deal and it's a great deal for the city of Cincinnati."
   
The light bulb apparently went on when GE said The Banks in downtown Cincinnati was the best place for a shared services center.  One of only five shared service centers in the world and the only in North America they back office functions like finance, IT and human resources.
   
A UC study said the GE office, with 1,800 to 2,000 high-paying jobs depending on which estimate you take, will have a ripple effect through the economy.  The effect will be one billion dollars a year with other jobs being created, supplies being purchased, even restaurant meals being ordered.  But development comes with a price tag.  For example, the 85 percent job creation tax credit the company will get for 15 years.

Chris Seelbach of Cincinnati city council said, "Why are we giving this good a deal to GE?  We've never done it before.  What do they bring to the table that the administration is recommending this good of a deal that we are giving back them 85 cents of every dollar they bring to town?  That's the question, why?"

City economic development director, Jeff McElravy, said, "The answer is this is an opportunity with tangible and intangible benefits. The part that we're focusing on is the direct fiscal benefit to the city. But the bigger picture includes the indirect benefits that come from their presence. All of the suppliers and being able to go out into the marketplace and say that GE has a significant presence in our downtown instantly gives us credibility that we don't have today."

The tax breaks and financial incentives from the state, city and county add up to around $100 million over 15 years.  GE promised to stay 18 years with the chance of several five year extensions.  There will also be $90 million in private investment to put up the building.  Construction starts later this year and the new GE building should be open in late 2016.
   
The streetcar was mentioned as one of the reasons The Banks was chosen over the other sites.


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