Noblesville OKs $3.7M in incentives for BlueSky

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The Noblesville Common Council approved spending up to $3.7 million to persuade an e-commerce consulting firm to build a new headquarters near downtown Tuesday night.

The deal with BlueSky Technology Partners includes the city paying $2.4 million to design, permit and complete improvements on 1.55 acres on the southwest corner of John and Osborn streets, where the company would build a new headquarters. The city would also spend $1.2 million to acquire all of the land there.

City attorney Mike Howard told the council the property has been barren for 25 years, mostly because grade changes make it difficult to build on.

“This site is challenged from the development standpoint,” Howard said.

The city would also construct a parking lot with about 200 spaces and provide lighting for it, erect retention walls on the east and west borders of the property, build curbs, install on-site drainage and conduct an environmental survey. The parking spots will be available to the public on nights and weekends.

In exchange for the economic incentives, the company will construct a 40,000-square-foot facility on the property for its new headquarters, which is estimated to cost $6 million. The building must be finished by the end of 2016, according to the agreement.

All of the 55 current employees working from the BlueSky location at 15570 Stony Creek Way would relocate to the new building, and the company would hire 20 additional employees within five years. The average salary for the employees would be $95,000, for a total payroll of $5.5 million.

The new building would also have 10,000 square feet on the first floor for possible retail usage.

The preliminary site work is to be completed by the city by Oct. 1. The city will also acquire three parcels of land to the north of Osborn Street by Oct. 1 and complete site work on that land by September 2016.

To cover the costs, the city would obtain a bond up to $3.7 million. Revenue from the city’s tax increment financing district and additional funding from BlueSky would cover the bond payments. The company’s annual obligations to the city for property taxes and bond payments combined won’t exceed $100,000 from 2018-2027 and no more than $150,000 from 2028-2037.

Fishers had also been trying to sway BlueSky to relocate there, but the company announced earlier this month it would stick with Noblesville.

The council approved the deal unanimously Tuesday night, but at least one council member was at least initially reluctant to support it. Council member Brian Ayer said even Tuesday morning he was “in limbo” about it. Getting stuck in traffic traveling north from downtown Indianapolis on Tuesday evening convinced him there's a need for good employers in the Noblesville.

“I think it’s important, even though it’s an expensive project,” Ayer said. “I feel like it’s a solid project for the community.”

Mayor John Ditslear said the project is “the right thing at the right place.” “Having BlueSky there is a great asset,” Ditslear said. The new headquarters will be just to the west of the city’s planned $6 million Federal Hill park.

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