Earlier this week, New Albany City Council was expected to vote on tax incentives and two review boards were to consider several variances for Discover Financial Services, which plans to expand its operations at the southwest corner of New Albany Road East and New Albany Condit Road.

Earlier this week, New Albany City Council was expected to vote on tax incentives and two review boards were to consider several variances for Discover Financial Services, which plans to expand its operations at the southwest corner of New Albany Road East and New Albany Condit Road.

Visit ThisWeekNEWS.com for updates from City Council's special meeting Monday, May 21, and the architectural review board and board of zoning appeals meetings Tuesday, May 22.

Last week, Discover announced it will add 162 employees to the 1,537 working at its call center and build a 97,000-square-foot data center on the north side of the building, pending approval of the incentives.

"We're trying to meet our growing needs as a business," company spokesman Robert Weiss said. "We are continuing to grow, and part of that growth requires us to expand our data center."

The project will increase the company's $65 million annual payroll by $7.5 million, said Jennifer Chrysler, the city's community development director.

Chrysler said Discover considered building the data center in Arizona or South Carolina. The city encouraged Discover to build the data center in New Albany by offering tax incentives. The state also is offering a tax credit valued at $4.1 million, Weiss said. The incentive was slated to be reviewed by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority earlier this week.

Chrysler said the New Albany incentives include a 15-year, 65 percent abatement on property taxes and a 10-year, 30 percent income-tax credit that will be administered in 2015 after the 15-year, 100 percent abatement on property taxes for the call center expires.

New Albany officials estimate the city will earn $15.3 million over the term of the incentives.

None of the income-tax revenue will have to be shared with the New Albany-Plain Local School District, Chrysler said. She said the school district will earn 100 percent of the property-tax revenue from the call center when the original 15-year abatement expires in 2015, and it will earn a portion of property taxes from the expansion. Over the 15-year abatement term, she said, the city and school district should collect $4.9 million in property taxes.

Chrysler said Discover will invest $72 million in the data center.

"The data center will house mainly equipment, data center equipment, (computer) servers and stuff like that," Weiss said. "Data centers mainly have equipment so our manpower needs there are minimal."

The building expansion requires several city code variances, which were to be considered May 22 by the architectural review board and board of zoning appeals.

The architectural board was expected to vote on three items: a waiver from city code that requires buildings to have "operable and active front doors" along public and private roads; a certificate of appropriateness on condition the aforementioned waiver is approved; and approval for the back of the building to face a public right of way.

Chrysler said the triangular shape of the Discover campus has frontage on New Albany Road East and New Albany Condit Road. The main entrance would be on an access drive to the south, so the two fronts would not have working doors.

She said many data centers limit points of entry for security reasons.

EMH&T, a local engineering firm, applied for the board waiver in April on behalf of the company, which at that time was not being named. But EMH&T withdrew the application with no reason given.

The board of zoning appeals was expected to vote on four variances: changing the required tree planting on side lots; eliminating the leisure trails on the property; reducing the number of required parking spaces from 270 to 145; and waiving the street-tree requirement for New Albany-Condit Road.

New Albany officials recommended approval of the variances, pending that Discover work with the city's landscape architect on the side lot planting and street trees and extend the leisure trail on the north side of Central College Road from New Albany Road East to New Albany Condit Road.

The new data center is expected to open late next year.