Finish Line forfeits incentive deal

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Mall retailer The Finish Line Inc. has agreed to forfeit a potentially lucrative tax-abatement deal because it won't be able to meet a 2008 promise to create almost 200 jobs and invest $24 million at its Indianapolis headquarters.

The local company had agreed in August 2008 to create 183 jobs paying an average wage of $19.15 per hour, retain 671 employees averaging $20.27 per hour, and invest in upgrades to its headquarters at 3308 N. Mitthoeffer Road. In exchange, the Metropolitan Development Commission approved abatement deals for Finish Line that would have saved the company about $2.25 million on its taxes over a 10-year period.

But late last year, Finish Line officials informed the city that the company could not meet its capital-investment or job-creation commitments due to "unforeseen economic circumstances."

"What The Finish Line has done is exactly what we hope any company would do,” said Stephanie Quick, an assistant administrator in the Department of Metropolitan Development. “When a company requests a tax abatement, they’re committing to create and retain jobs. If they can’t live up to it, we would like them to come to us.”

The MDC is scheduled to consider a formal cancelation of the Finish Line deal on Wednesday afternoon. The move will not change the amount of taxes collected on the property since the abatement had not yet taken effect. The company's promised investments would have added about $10 million to the city's tax base, with the abatement allowing Finish Line to gradually take on a higher tax bill.

It wasn't clear whether Finish Line has added jobs or invested in some of the improvements it planned in 2008, including $10 million to build a warehouse and distribution building, $2 million to upgrade its existing headquarters, and another $12.4 million to upgrade its logistics, IT and telecommunications equipment.

A company spokeswoman said she was not familiar with the company's decision to forgo the incentives.

The deal was finalized about five months after Finish Line extracted itself from a disastrous effort to acquire Nashville, Tenn.-based Genesco Inc. for $1.5 billion. The company had to pay about $40 million to Genesco and hand over the equivalent of about 12 percent of the local company's shares.


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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.