Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Dell center coming to West Chester

Computer giant's distribution
site might bring up to 655 jobs

By John Byczkowski
and John Kiesewetter
Enquirer staff writers

WEST CHESTER TWP. - Computer giant Dell Inc. will open a distribution center in West Chester this year, investing up to $60 million and creating as many as 655 jobs within three years, the company said Monday.

The announcement came on the day that Butler County commissioners approved creating an enterprise zone in West Chester, the last piece of a state and local tax incentive package worth up to $10 million.

"Dell's decision to locate in Ohio is great news for the entire region and underscores Ohio's steadily improving economy," Ohio Gov. Bob Taft said.

Local officials were also elated.

"Having a company like Dell, such a well-known name, bringing a substantial amount of jobs shows the importance of this area, and how companies around the nation look at West Chester Township as a vibrant economic area," said Joe Hinson, president and CEO of the West Chester Chamber Alliance.

Average pay at the distribution center will be $12.30 an hour, or $25,584 annually, said Brian Coughlin, Butler County economic development director.

Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas, is the world's largest direct-sale computer vendor, with 2003 sales of more than $41 billion.

The center will be a joint venture of Dell and APL Logistics of Oakland, Calif., and will employ 250 people within a year.

Dell has signed a 10-year lease on a warehouse on Windisch Road in West Chester and has proposed investment and improvements there worth $30 million to $60 million. Work on the project could begin Nov. 1, and employment could reach 655 within three years, with an annual payroll of $17 million.

Package of incentives

The township in August approved incentives worth $1.8 million to $3.5 million over seven years, depending on Dell's investment. Dell has agreed to pay Princeton City Schools $560,000 over seven years to compensate for lost tax revenues.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority in July approved a corporate earnings tax abatement worth up to $2.9 million over 10 years. Melissa Koehler, the West Chester economic development director, said that with other programs, the value of state incentives could be worth $7 million to Dell.

Help from DHL decision

Dell began talking to West Chester in January. A break came in June, when air cargo carrier DHL said it would consolidate its shipping operations in Wilmington and close operations in Erlanger at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Ohio is providing DHL incentives worth $400 million.

E-mail johnb@enquirer.com or jkiesewetter@enquirer.com

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