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Lilly's $30.6M tax abatement request clears hurdle

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Eli  Lilly and Co.’s request for more than $30 million in tax breaks on $400 million in construction projects and improvements to existing operations downtown has cleared a hurdle with the city’s Metropolitan Development Commission.

The Commission granted preliminary approval Wednesday afternoon on Lilly's two 10-year tax abatement requests totaling $30.6 million. A public hearing and final consideration are now scheduled for May 1.

Over the last several months, the pharmaceuticals giant has rolled out plans for a manufacturing plant southwest of downtown Indianapolis where the firm will manufacture cartridges for insulin.  

Construction is already under way for the 164,000-square-foot plant on South Harding Street, adjoining Lilly’s existing manufacturing complex known as Lilly Technology Center.

Lilly’s investment in the project is estimated at $320 million. In addition, it is planning a new inspection facility that will add another 30,000 square feet to the project, plus renovations to existing buildings on the Lilly Technology Center campus and to the Lilly Corporate Center. In total, Lilly’s investment is expected to reach $400 million.

MDC staff opined in a report to the commission that the project would not be economically feasible without the tax abatement.

The staff report states that the new investments will allow Lilly to retain 175 local employees, who will earn an average of $30.94 an hour. A company spokesman has said that the project would involve a combination of existing employees and new workers.

Over the 10-year abatement period, Lilly still would pay $25.4 million in taxes. After that, it would pay about $5.2 million in taxes annually related to the projects.

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