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Roche, Marsh call off sublease deal

June 13, 2008

Roche Diagnostics has canceled a deal with Marsh Supermarkets to sublease the grocer's corporate headquarters in Fishers.

The Swiss-based manufacturer of pharmaceuticals and medical diagnostic equipment said in March it planned to move 340 employees into the 148,000-square-foot building that has served as the headquarters of Marsh since 1991.

But Roche terminated the deal late last month after it couldn't reach terms with Marsh. In particular, Roche wanted an agreement that would have prevented the firm from being evicted if Marsh defaults on the building, said Doyia Turner, a Roche spokeswoman.

Roche, which employs about 2,800 at its North American headquarters here, now is looking elsewhere in Fishers for about 150,000 square feet of office space, Turner said.

She said the decision to drop out of the Marsh agreement is unrelated to a May announcement that Roche plans to transfer 300 local jobs to Germany over the next three years.

Rather, the company wants to find new office space to unite employees now spread over three sites. Roche is projecting annual job growth of 4 percent over the next three years.

The town of Fishers had promised to grant $277,000 over 10 years in property tax abatements to help Roche make $2 million in improvements to the Marsh building and install $2.75 million in computer equipment.

A spokeswoman for Marsh was on vacation until Tuesday, and her assistant said the company would have no comment until she returns.

Some Marsh staff members had planned to remain in the building until Jan. 1, 2009, when the agreement called for Marsh to fully vacate its headquarters.

Marsh already has relocated some of its employees to new offices at the company's facility on Franklin Road at Washington Street in Indianapolis, and has moved about 20 employees to its former headquarters in Yorktown.

The grocery chain was acquired in September 2006 by a Florida-based private equity firm, Sun Capital Partners Inc., for $88 million in cash.

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