Rocky Fork Enterprise

AEP to move transmission HQ to New Albany


American Electric Power is moving its transmission headquarters to New Albany, next door to its central operations center on Smith's Mill Road.

Dennis Welch, the company's executive vice president and chief external officer, said AEP has outgrown one of the two buildings on Morrison Road in Gahanna.

The company is expected to move employees from Gahanna to New Albany when the 195,000-square-foot facility is built within two years, said Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany's community-development director.

Chrysler said the total number of jobs on site is expected to reach 600. That includes 100 employees who currently work in the operations center.

The 83,500-square-foot operations center opened in May 2008, according to the company's website.

Welch said AEP recently purchased 35 acres east of the site, which is where it will build the transmission headquarters.

Two buildings will have a secure connection, Welch said.

New Albany City Council on April 14 unanimously approved an incentive package for the project that includes:

* A 100 percent, 15-year real property-tax abatement valued at $7.2 million.

* An income-tax credit for creating health and wellness programs valued at $1.5 million.

* A sustainability grant of $250,000 from the city's economic-development fund to achieve LEED certification for the building.

* A $100,000 training grant from the city's economic-development fund.

Four members of New Albany City Council were present for the vote: Mayor Nancy Ferguson, Glyde Marsh, Mike Mott and Sloan Spalding.

Chrysler said AEP is investing $39 million in project, which is expected to generate $1.16 million annually in income-tax revenue. That is based on the estimated $58 million annual payroll anticipated.

Chrysler said the city shares revenue from income taxes collected in that area with four entities. According to City Council's legislative report:

* The New Albany Community Authority, which helped build infrastructure in the business park, will receive 30 percent or $348,000.

* The Licking Heights school district will receive 27.5 percent or $319,000.

* The city of Columbus, which provides water and sewer services to the properties, will receive 15 percent or $174,000.

* The city of New Albany will retain 27.5 percent of $319,000.

Chrysler said having AEP as a partner in the community has helped bring in other businesses because AEP helped to extend fiber-optics lines in the city, which also are maintained by AEP.

AEP also partnered with the city on its renovations at High and Main streets in the past two years, helping fund the burial of utility lines at that intersection.