Thursday, January 20, 2011

Official: Center could bring 1,000 jobs

By Steve Vied, Messenger-Inquirer
Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 12:00 AM CST

The proposed $45 million Heartland Crossing shopping center project, which the Owensboro City Commission moved to annex into the city Tuesday, will bring 750 to more than 1,000 jobs to the community, a city official said.

City Commission members unanimously approved a municipal order at City Hall authorizing Mayor Ron Payne to execute an agreement with Heartland Crossing's owners that would allow the 65-acre development to be annexed into the city.

Under the proposed agreement, the city will reimburse the developer for the cost of building facilities dedicated to public use, with the amount of the reimbursement not to exceed the total of property, occupational and net profits tax revenues derived from the property for a period of five years.

The arrangement falls under the standard annexation incentive program the city has used for many years to bring residential and commercial developments into the city.

When Payne asked City Attorney Ed Ray how many jobs the development will create, Ray answered that the developers have said the number of direct jobs would be 750.

An evaluation by the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. found that the total number of jobs created as a result of the project will be slightly more than 1,000, according to Ray.

The project is expected to begin this spring, city officials said.

"This is an exciting development which will create added jobs," Payne said. "We are really pleased to see this community continue to grow."

Heartland Crossing, which is at 2404 and 2412 E. Parrish Ave. next to the U.S. 60 bypass, was announced almost three years ago. Plans call for a 276,700-square-foot main shopping center surrounded by 16 outlots for restaurants, banks, offices and a hotel.

A Menards home improvement store is reportedly among the businesses that will locate in the development.

Also Tuesday, the City Commission heard first reading of an ordinance amending the budget to set aside funds for several maintenance projects and construction of a $275,000 replacement recycling center on West Seventh Street. No objections were raised to the ordinance by commission members. It will be voted on at the Feb. 1 meeting.