Carmel pharmaceutical firm eyeing move to Noblesville

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A Carmel institutional pharmacy could move its growing drug repackaging operation to Noblesville’s Corporate Campus if city leaders sign off on an incentive deal.

Pharmakon LTC Pharmacy and sister firm Pharmakon Pharmaceuticals have asked for tax breaks worth about $225,000 in exchange for a nearly $1.5 million investment that would bring 65 jobs this year and another 70 by the end of 2018.

The companies, which supply long-term-care facilities and government hospitals with pharmaceuticals packed for convenience, together have more than 200 employees sharing a 50,000-square-foot facility, founder Paul Elmer told the Noblesville Common Council on Tuesday.

“We are seeing rapid growth in this highly specialized industry,” he said, adding that a new contract with a large hospital chain is driving the planned expansion of the pharmaceutical unit.

Pharmakon is proposing to improve and equip a vacant 37,000-square-foot industrial building at 14450 Getz Road. Elmer said he would like a location that could accommodate both companies once the Carmel lease expires.

The five-acre Noblesville property provides adequate room to grow, he said.

Pharmakon “fits the profile” of industries the city is targeting for its Corporate Campus, Economic Development Director Judi Johnson said, and the company is planning to occupy a building that has been vacant for more than a year.

The company expects a total payroll of more than $8 million within five years. The new positions will pay about $45,000 per year, Pharmakon said in its abatement application. Annual salaries for existing jobs were listed at $80,000.

That’s significantly higher than the $50,000 that Pharmakon LTC promised in 2008 when it won state and local incentives to move from Indianapolis to 801 Congressional Boulevard in Carmel. At the time, the company had 60 employees and promised to add another 50.
Indiana Economic Development Corp. provided $205,000 in tax credits and training grants in 2009, according to state records.

Last year, the city of Carmel pulled a 10-year personal property tax abatement (worth a whopping $16,700) after Pharmakon LTC failed to file a required compliance report.

Pharmakon had been late filing the form once before, City Councilor Luci Snyder said, and the promised salaries had not yet come to fruition—although the number of new jobs exceeded expectations.

Elmer told IBJ the company concluded that the small tax break “wasn’t worth the trouble” of completing the required paperwork.

Indianapolis consulting firm Ginovus is helping Pharmakon with the Noblesville deal, which received a preliminary OK on Tuesday. Final approval won’t come until after a public hearing.

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