UPDATE: Fishers OKs retention deal for OfficeWorks

January 8, 2014
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UPDATE: The Fishers Town Council on Wednesday night unanimously approved the OfficesWorks deal (see below) and incentives for VoxLumen, which wants to relocate its headquarters and open a production facility in the Exit 5 commercial park. The firm, which says it has developed uber-efficient lighting technology,  promised to employ 168 within five years.

Original Post:

Drawing new jobs remains a priority for economic development leaders in fast-growing Fishers, but existing businesses are getting some love, too.

Case in point: a business-retention deal with OfficeWorks Services LLC, up for consideration at Wednesday’s Town Council meeting.

Headquartered in Fishers since 2003, the 55-employee firm was considering a move from 12000 Exit 5 Parkway after its lease expired last summer. OfficeWorks, which designs office spaces featuring Herman Miller furniture, had issues with its existing warehouse space and loading docks, according to a briefing document prepared for the council.

When it couldn’t come to terms with landlord Becovic Management Group of Indiana about necessary improvements, the company began scouting other locations. Sites in Speedway and Lawrence made its short list.

Enter the town, which is working to retain and grow its commercial tax base.

To that end, the Fishers Redevelopment Commission is proposing to sell $150,000 worth of equipment to OfficeWorks for $1 in exchange for a promise to stay put for at least five years. (The company plans to add seven jobs during that period.)

Landlord Becovic, meanwhile, would make at least $325,000 worth of improvements to the facility—where it also has its office and 23 employees.

OfficeWorks would be required to pay the FRC as much as $150,000 if it reneges on the agreement and leaves early.

If it is approved, the deal would allow Fishers to keep 55 jobs that pay average hourly wages of $17 to $31, according to the proposed economic development agreement; managers make almost $153 an hour.

The OfficeWorks arrangement is just the latest example of Fishers’ increasingly aggressive business-retention effort.

Last month, the council approved a project agreement with construction firm Meyer Najem, which is planning a $5.5 million office building downtown to replace its leased headquarters off of 131st Street.

And in October, council members signed off on a complicated plan to keep growing tech firms BlueBridge Digital and BlastMedia in town.

Officials also have several new-business initiatives in the works, including a proposal also up for a vote tonight that could bring high-potential Colorado startup VoxLumen and 85 jobs to Fishers by mid-May.

What’s your take on the town’s economic development efforts?

  • Local corporatism
    They may call themselves conservatives, but Fishers politicians are knee deep in corporate welfare.
    • Corporate Wel..blah, blah blah
      What would you do differently, Nicolas? Extending public tax dollars for businesses that pay real estate taxes and employees with their payroll taxes and the all the residual money that is spent locally and the potential charitable donations by businesses and those employees is hardly a welfare. It's an investment. The only one of those investments that I question in this article is the Colorado company -- there is a proposal of $800,000 to go to a two employee company that has not really produced anything. That is too risky, but to extend some money to an already existing business and it's 55 employees versus letting them walk away? That's not welfare. That is smart investment.
      • The purpose of government
        Hey dad, The purpose of government is not to "make investments" in business in order to provide a tax base so that it can continue to "make investments" in business. Government should be limited to essential services thus providing for the greatest freedom for the greatest many and not be another tool for insiders to raise capital or pick losers and winners. Rinos in fishers are notorious for their love of this kind of corporate welfare rebranded as "economic development" and "public private partnerships". Let the markets decide and keep government out of it.
      • $153 per hour?
        Managers make $153 an hour? Over 200K per year. What the What!?!?!

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