Saturday, August 19, 2000

Ohio lands Kohl's center

Butler County site to house Internet retail facility

By Ken Alltucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Kohl's Corp. announced Friday that it will establish a $28.2 million distribution warehouse in Monroe for its new Internet division, an expansion that could create 600 jobs within three years.

        The Wisconsin-based retailer said the 525,000-square-foot distribution center at Ohio 63 and I-75 will process orders for its Internet business, scheduled to launch in 2001.

        Duke-Weeks Corp. will develop the warehouse at Monroe Commerce Center and lease it to Kohl's, which has the option to purchase and expand the center to 1 million square feet.

        Kohl's chose the Butler County location over a site in Indiana, marking the second consecutive day the Ohio Department of Development announced that a business picked Ohio over a neighboring state. On Thursday, the state announced Gap Inc. was moving a distribution warehouse and up to 850 jobs from Kentucky to Ohio.

        The average, full-time job at the center will pay $21,000 a year.

        A Kohl's spokeswoman said the retailer picked the Monroe site after considering several factors, including location and an eight-year, 70 percent job creation tax credit incentive offered by Ohio that could be worth up to $1.8 million.

        “Ohio is going to see a great benefit, not only in investment, but in the earnings,” said Chad Munitz, Ohio's deputy director of economic development. “The fact of life is incentives play a part in these deci sions.”

        Duke-Weeks, which signed the lease with Kohl's last week, already started construction and should finish the warehouse in March, said Bob Fessler, Duke-Weeks' senior vice president of industrial. Kohl's operates 306 stores in 25 states, including five locations in Greater Cincinnati. It is taking a cautious approach to selling goods over the Internet compared to other retailers, said spokeswoman Susan Henderson.

        Kohl's hasn't set a date for its Internet launch, but it will likely be in the second half of 2001, Ms. Henderson said. The company won't hire all 600 workers at once; it will add positions as demand increases.


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