Westerville News & Public Opinion

Tax break extended to keep Exel in Westerville

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One of Westerville's largest employers will remain within city limits for at least the next five years -- with a potential of 10 years -- thanks to a new economic development agreement with the city.

Westerville City Council approved a tax break and no-interest loan for Exel, one of Westerville's top three employers, at its Jan. 21 meeting.

Exel, headquartered in office buildings at 550 and 570 Polaris Parkway, provides third-party logistics as a division of Europe-based DHL.

In Westerville, Exel employs 540 people with an annual payroll of $62 million.

The company was at the end of its lease in Westerville, with its property-tax abatement set to expire. The company was considering other locations in New Albany and Columbus, Westerville Economic Development Administrator Jason Bechtold said.

With a commitment to sign a five-year lease to keep the company in Westerville through 2019, Exel was granted a reimbursement from the city equivalent to its current property-tax abatement.

The current property-tax abatements do not expire until 2015 and 2017, so the city would reimburse Exel $132,000 in 2015 and 2016 and $430,000 each year beginning in 2017.

After the initial five-year agreement, Exel would have the option to renew the agreement if it signed another five-year lease in 2019.

Over the next five years, the company plans to add 84 employees with a $10.5-million payroll, and the city also would grant Exel a $300,000 interest-free loan from the Westerville Industry and Commerce Corp. to cover the costs of building improvements for that expansion.

Despite the cost to the city, the company would have a net tax contribution of $14 million over the five years, Bechtold said.

"It's a significant net benefit to the city," he said.

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