Hilliard Northwest News

Verizon moving 1,500 employees to Hilliard

Move from Dublin also could create 500 new jobs

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Hilliard is expected to gain 1,500 jobs next year when Verizon moves employees from a leased office in Dublin to a company-owned office in Hilliard.

The employees at Verizon Wireless, 5174 Emerald Parkway will move to Verizon Business, 5000 Britton Parkway.

The relocation is expected to be complete by the end of the second quarter in 2014.

"We've seen Verizon steadily grow and knew they would eventually reach capacity," said Colleen Gilger, economic development manager for Dublin.

Gilger said Verizon's announcement was not a surprise.

Hilliard Economic Development Director David Meeks said the relocation of the 1,500 employees is expected to generate an additional $1.5 million in income-tax revenue for Hilliard.

The estimated annual payroll is $72 million, Meeks said, but when factoring in salary increases and new jobs Verizon expects to create by June 2014, Meeks estimates Verizon's payroll would be almost $82 million.

About 500 new jobs are expected to be created in addition to the 1,500 relocated employees, Meeks said.

By the end of 2018, and according to Verizon's five-year forecast, Meeks said company officials have predicted a payroll of $126 million.

The move will immediately triple the number of employees at the Verizon Business site on Britton Parkway where 400 employees currently work.

Verizon Business purchased the site in 2005 from World Com, where about 1,800 people were employed early in the last decade before the implosion of the dot-com industry.

"We're not building a lot of new office space right now, so it's great to have the ability to fill vacant office space," Meeks said.

Gilger called the move "a sound business decision" for Verizon, stemming from a change in corporate policy in which the company, when economically feasible, will unite Verizon Wireless and Verizon Business, separately owned and operated companies, under one roof.

Gilger said Dublin will lose about $1.6 million in income-tax revenue, representing a little less than 3 percent of its annual income-tax revenue.

Gilger said the Dublin does not rank its employers as generators of income tax revenue, but Verizon is certainly among the city's larger employers.

City officials already are reaching out to identify future tenants that would be suited for the two-building campus Verizon is vacating.

"It won't be hard to sell," with frontage on Interstate 270 and Cardinal Health next door, Gilger said. "The campus in Hilliard was largely vacant so we know how much sense it made to move the employees."

The new employees arriving in Hilliard next year will significantly bolster the city's daytime population.

"And that's a boon for our restaurants and retailers," Meeks said.

The additional employees are precisely the kind the city is seeking to support proposed developments such as Landmark Lofts, a residential and retail project proposed at Cemetery Road and Franklin Street near Old Hilliard, Meeks said.

The inability for Verizon Wireless to expand at its leased site in Dublin, and the fact the company owned the Hilliard site, played to Hilliard's advantage, Meeks said.

Mayor Don Schonhardt concurred that it "made good business sense" for Verizon to consolidate employees at a building it owned.

"It was a sound decision on the part of Verizon and we're thrilled to welcome them to Hilliard," Schonhardt said.

Hilliard is offering an economic incentive to Verizon Wireless, but it applies only to new jobs being created at the site.

No incentive applies to the relocating employees, Meeks said, in keeping with the city's informal agreement with other central Ohio cities not to use incentives to entice companies to relocate existing jobs from one community to another.

Using the estimated $72 million payroll of the existing 1,500 employees as a baseline, Meeks said, a 50 percent tax credit will apply to the company's payroll in excess of $72 million.

Legislation approving the incentive will be presented March 11 to a committee of Hilliard City Council.

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