Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Monroe chosen as possible home for new Kohl's distribution center

By David Eck
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONROE — City leaders are taking steps to lure what would be the biggest commercial development project yet for this growing city.

        Monroe is one of two sites in the running for a 475,000-square-foot Kohl's Corp. distribution and fulfillment center, city officials said Tuesday. The project would bring at least 500 new full-time jobs to the city in the next two years.

        “They would commit to 950 full-time jobs within five years,” said Jay Stewart, Monroe's development director. “After two years they would be the largest employer in the city.”

        At full employment, the company's annual payroll would be about $18 million, he said.

        Monroe City Council on Tuesday recommended to the Butler County commissioners a 75 percent, 10-year tax abatement on real and personal property for the project. Kohl's investment would be at least $32 million and could be as high as $48 million, depending on inventory, Mr. Stewart said.

        The Monroe site Kohl's is considering is along Ohio 63. It is about 35 acres.

        Kohl's is also looking at the Indianapolis area for the project, said Terry Rowinski, e-commerce director/logistics for Kohl's.

        The center would primarily serve the retailer's online operations, he said.

        The company was drawn to the Monroe site because of its location and the city's small-town culture.

        “We like going into small towns and helping build infrastructure and things,” he said. “It's an ambitious project for all of us.”

        City officials should know within a month if the Monroe location is chosen.

        Kohl's wants to begin construction on its building soon and have it up and running early next year, Mr. Rowinski said.

        Tuesday's news follows word last week that the city is working with Baker Concrete Co. on a $6.3 million relocation and expansion in Monroe. That project would consolidate two of Baker's existing Monroe operations into the 166,000-square-foot former Voith Sulzer facility on North Main Street.


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