Gahanna officials hope to bring 225 jobs to the city with a payroll of more than $5.4-million annually by providing incentives to NationsHealth Inc.

Gahanna officials hope to bring 225 jobs to the city with a payroll of more than $5.4-million annually by providing incentives to NationsHealth Inc.

The company wants to establish a new call center at 800 Techcenter Drive and a new distribution center at 915 Taylor Road.

Leah Evans, Gahanna's economic-development manager, told Gahanna City Council members June 28 that she's excited about NationsHealth filling the Techcenter Drive space that has been vacant for more than 18 months. The space was the site proposed for the NetJets project.

The call center would house 200 order processors and management staff, and the distribution facility would house 25 pharmacy techs and logistics personnel.

NationsHealth is a provider of medical products nationwide to Medicare and managed-care beneficiaries. The company's focus is on improving the delivery and cost of health care to millions of Medicare beneficiaries in the United States, according to Evans. Established in 2001, the company is based in Sunrise, Fla., and would move to Gahanna.

"It would be wonderful for us because the space has been vacant," Evans said.

She said the company intends to expand its distribution network and increase customer support by moving to Gahanna, which has been competing for the project with Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Westerville and Columbus.

"The property owners have been working with them to keep the bottom line low," Evans said. "They wanted to lease."

Evans said the average salary would be $12 an hour plus $3.60 an hour in benefits.

Kelly Fox, a managing partner at Gahanna-based Fox & Fox Law Co., represented NationsHealth at Monday's meeting. He said his client is excited about the prospect of moving to Gahanna.

Initially, he said, 225 jobs would be created, pending approval of the lease, Gahanna City Council and the state.

"We're hoping to start seeing people in 60 to 90 days," Fox said.

Additional public assistance to the project includes a 45-percent, five-year job-creation tax credit, which the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved May 24.

Gahanna's incentives advisory board met June 14 and voted to recommend the project for a five-year, 50-percent "Office & Industrial Incentive" to NationsHealth for the creation of at least 225 new jobs.

Council is expected to vote on the recommendation July 6.

NationsHealth would make a fixed-asset investment of at least $550,000, including $300,000 in machinery and equipment and $250,000 in leasehold improvements. The company also would be required to create 225 full-time equivalent jobs, with potential growth of up to 350 full-time equivalent jobs within three years.

Council president Tom Kneeland said he is excited about the prospect and hopes NationsHealth will bring even more jobs than anticipated.

"The (development) department has burned the midnight oil to bring them to Gahanna," he said. "It comes highly recommended by me."

Council member Beryl Anderson said it's great to see empty space filled in Gahanna.

"I support it 100 percent," she said. "Thank you to the development department for what they do."

Mayor Becky Stinchcomb told ThisWeek she's "thrilled" about the prospect of bringing Nations-Health and jobs to Gahanna.