Zionsville Times Sentinel

November 27, 2013

GNC gets tax abatement, and lecture

By Rod Rose For the Times Sentinel
Zionsville Times Sentinel

---- — Saying he was “really disappointed” by proposed salaries to be paid its workers, Boone County Commissioner Marc Applegate Monday, Nov. 18, “reluctantly” moved to approve tax deferral for a General Nutrition Center distribution center in Allpoints at Anson.

The tax abatement passed 3-0, but that vote wasn’t taken before Applegate expressed his displeasure with the company’s payroll.

GNC, a worldwide distributor of nutrition supplements through brick-and-mortar stores and its website, will invest $25 million in 342,840 square feet of an existing building on Albert S. White Parkway in Whitestown. The 600,000-square-foot building was built by Duke Realty as a “spec” structure, without having tenants signed to a lease. Many developers are taking such actions because companies considering expansion want to move quickly, and not be delayed by the need to construct a building.

Over the seven year period of tax abatement — which means that GNC will pay an increasing percentage of its property taxes each year, until the tax payment reaches 100 percent — the company will produce $1 million in new revenue, Bryan Brackemyre, executive director of the Boone County Economic Development Corp., told the commissioners. After the abatement expires, GNC will pay more than $276,000 a year in property taxes, he said.

The company said it would hire 175 workers by 2015, at an average hourly wage, excluding benefits, of $13.50 an hour, in a form requesting tax abatement. The number of jobs would increase to 225, and the average hourly wage to $14.32, by 2017, according to the paperwork.

A study by the Boone EDC estimated that there are more than 12,000 workers in the county who are looking for jobs that pay $16 or less, Brackemyre said.

Applegate said even including the cost of benefits, the jobs are not the quality that he thought the Anson development was originally designed to produce.

“I understand there are benefits,” Applegate said. “I just don’t think these are the kind of jobs we should be trying to attract to Boone County.”

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for more on this story.