Eric Phillips presented a memorandum to the Richwood Village Council and Mayor William Nibert on Jan. 14 recommending approval of a 10-year tax abatement that will pave the way for the Richwood Banking Company to conduct a $1.75 million expansion of its operations at 24 E. Blagrove St. in Downtown Richwood.
Phillips, the executive director of the Union County Economic Development Partnership, said officials from the village, the county and North Union Schools began meeting with representatives of the Richwood Banking Company at the end of 2012 to discuss how they could sure that the company remained in Richwood, where it has been continuously in operation for more than 140 years.
"You never like to give anything away," said Union County commissioner Charles Hall, who participated in the talks. "But this really was a no-brainer. You have a company that has been in Richwood for nearly a century and a half, a company that has been an integral part of the county, especially the northern part of the county, and one that has facilitated economic activity. And they did have the opportunity to expand elsewhere if we hadn't stepped up to the plate."
The banking company has proposed demolishing structures located at 24 E. Blagrove St. to construct a two-story, 12,500-square-foot operations facility located directly to the east of its headquarters and main offices at 28 N. Franklin St.
In addition to the $1.75 million in construction of the new building, the company plans to invest an additional $100,000 on personal property. It will retain 19 existing employees with an annual payroll of $926,000 and create an additional 14 jobs with an annual payroll of $690,000.
"The proposed expansion reaffirms the company's commitment to Richwood and ensures that investment and jobs will remain in the village," Phillips told the mayor and council. "Additionally, the proposed expansion, located in Uptown Richwood, will provide additional employees and customers for the other Uptown businesses. It will provide a major revitalization of a property and improve the aesthetic quality of the area."
The partnership's proposal had a first reading on Tuesday and is expected to pass council in an expedited fashion on Jan. 28. The company hopes to break ground as early as February.
"This news is very exciting," Nibert said. "They were gonna do it here or they were gonna do it somewhere else. We had to make sure they did it here. The abatement is just the price of doing business in the world today. But we'll still get real estate taxes from 25 percent of the new property and income taxes from the new jobs that will offset the abatement."