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Zionsville still must finalize deal for Hat World's HQ

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The Zionsville Redevelopment Commission will meet Monday afternoon to formalize a deal expected to deliver hundreds of headquarters jobs to its new Creekside Corporate Park.

As IBJ reported Friday morning, Indianapolis-based retailer Hat World Inc. plans to invest $21.8 million to build and equip a corporate center in Zionsville and expand its warehouse and distribution operation a few minutes south in Indianapolis.

The company said it will create as many as 758 jobs between the two locations by 2025. Its current headquarters is in Park 100 at 7555 Woodland Dr. on Indianapolis' northwest side.

Hat World, which does business as Lids Sports Group, plans to acquire property south of 106th Street and east of Zionsville Road—a portion of 80-plus acres of land the town bought last year from Dow Chemical Co. in hopes of spurring development.

The 150,000-square-foot headquarters building and associated surface parking are expected to eat up all but about 1 acre of the developable land on the south side of the thoroughfare. The commission is working with consultants to draft a master plan for the portion of Creekside Corporate Park located north of 106th.

Lids President Ken Kocher declined to disclose the negotiated purchase price or the value of proposed local economic development incentives until they become public at Monday’s meeting.

He said the company will relocate about 400 corporate employees to Zionsville and expects to keep hiring. A news release from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. said Lids will begin filling about 300 “new administrative, finance, human resource and business-development positions” in late 2015 or early 2016.

“We’re going to continue to grow,” Kocher said.

Zionsville Town Council President Jeff Papa expects Lids to create 150 headquarters jobs within five years.

Economic development officials have been talking to the company about the move since late May, when the redevelopment commission closed on the $3 million deal to purchase the Dow property. Kocher said Lids explored its options for two years before deciding to "continue to call Indiana home."

Lids’ continued growth is “evidence of the strength and resiliency of businesses in the Hoosier state,” Gov. Mike Pence said at a Friday news conference.

Hat World has about 1,000 employees in Indiana—roughly 400 at its headquarters and 600 at a pair of warehouse and distribution facilities that will be united as part of the planned expansion into 600,000 square feet of space at 5349 W. 76th St.

Kocher declined to provide a salary range for the new jobs, saying pay for corporate and distribution positions vary wildly.

He said the company already has met a 2010 commitment to add 571 jobs within five years. Lids had about 300 local employees when that expansion was announced.

IEDC offered up to $3.4 million in conditional tax credits and $300,000 in training grants for the new project. The state agency also offered as much as $250,000 in infrastructure assistance from Indiana’s Industrial Development Grant Fund.

Zionsville acquired the former Dow property in hopes of landing just such a project (or projects), Papa said. Economic development officials there also are talking with a technology company exploring a smaller project on the other side of 106th, he said.

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