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Rolls-Royce relocates 2,500 jobs to downtown

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Rolls-Royce Corp. raised its profile in the corporate community by signing a deal to move 2,500 of its employees from the southwest side to downtown.

The aircraft-engine maker will occupy Eli Lilly and Co.’s former Faris Campus on South Meridian Street, which is being renamed the Rolls-Royce Meridian Center.

The company planned to spend $22 million on the move, which includes interior renovations to the three buildings, which total 365,000 square feet.

The move began Dec. 19 with 190 people. The bulk of it will come in March in waves of 500.

Rolls-Royce, which builds jet engines, employs 4,500 in the Indianapolis area, with most people working out of a southwest-side industrial campus.

As part of the downtown move, Rolls-Royce plans to demolish two World War II-era buildings, known as Plant 5 and Plant 8, on South Tibbs Avenue.

The company isn’t shrinking its local manufacturing footprint, however. After signing a money-saving labor agreement this year, John Gallo, executive vice president of business operations, said British-owned Rolls-Royce Group plc had awarded Indianapolis the internal contract for an additional engine component. The company plans to set up a new production line around that work.

The work shores up jobs for United Auto Workers Local 933, which represents 1,750 of the company’s local employees.

The city of Indianapolis offered Rolls-Royce a 10-year, $23 million property-tax abatement for its capital investments, which total $212 million, though the company isn’t promising any new jobs because of it.•

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