Navistar seeking abatement for potential expansion


By Casey S. Elliott - celliott@civitasmedia.com



Navistar is seeking a tax abatement to create a new facility on Phoenix Drive which will consolidate operations and bring in new jobs.

On Tuesday, Navistar Inc. and Damewood Enterprises filed a Community Reinvestment Act tax abatement request for a new warehousing facility at 915 Phoenix Drive. The abatement would need to be approved by both Urbana City Council and Urbana City Schools for it to move forward.

The application asks for a 100 percent, 10-year tax abatement for 24 acres on the property, currently classified for agricultural use. The land is currently owned by Damewood Enterprises Limited. Navistar will lease operations on the property out of a new 355,522 square foot warehouse facility on the site. The new facility will allow Navistar to consolidate existing operations in Urbana and Xenia as part of a joint venture with General Motors, according to the tax abatement application. The new facility is estimated to cost $12 million to build and will house $16 million in inventory.

An estimated 114 employees will be moved from Navistar’s existing Edgewood Avenue facility in Urbana to the new site. Approximately 27 employees will be moved from the Bellbrook Avenue, Xenia, Ohio, facility, and an estimated 39 full-time employees are predicted to be hired for the new warehouse, according to the application. Current estimated payroll at the Urbana site is $4.954 million; current payroll for the jobs moving to Urbana from Bellbrook is estimated at $1.263 million; and the company anticipates the new employees will have $572,000 in payroll; for a total of $6.789 million in payroll at the new site, according to the application.

Champaign County Economic Development Director Marcia Bailey told the Urbana school board Tuesday the company is looking at other sites for this new facility, so she is hopeful the city and school board will approve the abatement to bring new construction and jobs to Champaign County. Bailey also brought the abatement request to city council for their consideration Tuesday night.

“This is an opportunity for our growth, and not lose this to another community,” Bailey told the school board.

Urbana Schools Superintendent Charles Thiel said he thinks this might be good for the community and the schools.

“In my mind, it makes sense,” he said.

City Council is expected to vote on the abatement at its Feb. 21, 2017 meeting. Thiel said the school board will discuss, and potentially take action on, the abatement at its January meeting.

If approved, the project is estimated to begin construction in March 2017 and be completed in December 2017.

By Casey S. Elliott

celliott@civitasmedia.com

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.