New Albany City Council approved a resolution Aug. 16 to authorize the city manager to enter into an economic-incentive agreement with Bob Evans Farms, which is ready to move into its new headquarters in New Albany within the next two years.

New Albany City Council approved a resolution Aug. 16 to authorize the city manager to enter into an economic-incentive agreement with Bob Evans Farms, which is ready to move into its new headquarters in New Albany within the next two years.

The company announced in March that it would move its corporate headquarters from south Columbus, where it has been located since 1968, said Joe Eulberg, executive vice president of human resources for the company.

"We really are looking for a 50-year home," Eulberg said.

Council voted 5-0 to approve the resolution. Chip Fellows and Stephen Pleasnick were absent.

When it was looking for a new home, Bob Evans Farms considered other locations in Columbus and Texas. But New Albany seemed to be the right fit and also provided an incentive package "that made sense," Eulberg said.

Eulberg said the company was looking for 26 acres to purchase and ended up buying 40, which will give it room to grow in New Albany. The property is north of state Route 161, just west of Beech Road in Franklin County.

Community development director Jennifer Chrysler said the company is expected to build a 165,000-square-foot building that will have 360 employees within the first four years of operations. The company's investment in the project is estimated at $33.5 million.

Council's legislative said, "initially, the company will create 360 jobs in New Albany with an annual payroll of $23.4 million. Within four years, the company will ramp up to 510 jobs with an annual payroll of $35 million."

According to information from Bob Evans Farms, the company currently has 400 employees in several buildings in south Columbus that total 130,000 square feet.

In its financial-incentive package, the company will receive:

A 15-year, 100-percent tax abatement.

A 20-percent income-tax credit for five years if it uses environmentally friendly technology on site.

A 5-percent income-tax credit for five years for health and wellness initiatives.

A $250,000 income-tax credit, repayable over two years, to help with relocation expenses.

A $1-million interest-free loan for 10 years from the village's economic-development fund.

A 25-percent credit on building inspections and fees if it uses environmentally friendly technology on site.

Chrysler told council that having the company in the city is far greater than the value of the incentive package. The incentives are valued at more than $9 million, but over the term of the incentives, the project is anticipated to provide $11.3 million in income-tax revenue for the city.

The revenue will be shared with the New Albany-Plain Local School District. The district is expected to receive $3.97 million from income-tax receipts through the revenue-sharing agreement. The city will be able to use $2.58 million from the income-tax money generated to pay infrastructure debt from improvements to the business campus.

The Bob Evans Farms site also will include a silo with a sign welcoming the company to New Albany. Tom Rubey, development director for the New Albany Co., which is selling the property to Bob Evans Farms, said the silo will be built near the site of an old barn demolished earlier this week. The silo will be about 40 feet tall and 12 feet wide, similar to the one at Rogers Corner Shopping Center, at the corner of U.S. Route 62 and Morse Road, he said.

Eulberg said Bob Evans Farms strives to be part of the community in which it is located and the property will serve as a company headquarters and an educational area, which will help explain how the company operates.

He used the Bob Evans Farm Homestead in Rio Grande, Ohio, as an example. At the homestead, the company has converted the original home into a museum. A festival held in October features cooking demonstrations and a pedal-tractor pull, which offers the surrounding community and guests from all over a glimpse at how the company developed.

"We can tell our story better through our past," he said.

Mayor Nancy Ferguson thanked the company for coming to the village and for working with Columbus officials to redevelop its existing site in south Columbus.

"We're excited that you decided to stay in Franklin County," Ferguson said.