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Published: Wednesday, 3/2/2005

Perrysburg to offer $1.9M incentive to O-I

BY RACHEL ZINN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Perrysburg City Council last night voted to offer an incentive package worth more than $1.9 million to Owens-Illinois Inc., which is considering moving its headquarters from downtown Toledo to Levis Development Park in Perrysburg.

The incentive package includes a tax abatement, a cash-for-jobs grant, and a promise to "expeditiously facilitate" zoning changes needed for construction of a new facility for O-I, an international glass container manufacturer and Fortune 500 company.

The relocation of O-I headquarters to Perrysburg would bring more than 300 jobs to the city, said Councilman John Kevern, chairman of council's economic development committee.

"This is our way of getting to the table and showing the company what we've got," he said.

Steven McCracken, O-I's chairman and chief executive officer, said earlier this year that he was leaning toward the Levis Development Park as the glassmaker's headquarters site after its lease at One SeaGate expires Sept. 30, 2006. The company also is considering remaining in downtown Toledo or moving to a larger metropolitan area.

Kelley Yoder, a spokesman for the company, said yesterday that O-I was aware that Perrysburg was preparing incentives but that the company has not committed to relocating.

"We will still look at all our options," she said. "We're talking to all of the parties involved. We're still on track to make a decision by the second quarter."

Perrysburg's incentive package includes a 15-year tax exemption on new construction at Levis Development Park. Mr. Kevern said the company would save about $45,000 annually and would have to reach an agreement with the Perrysburg and Penta school districts to pay them the same amount they would have received without the tax abatement.

As another incentive, the city agreed to give O-I one-third of the payroll taxes the city collects from new jobs the company creates annually over the next 10 years. The incentive is being offered as an economic development job grant, a program that Perrysburg created in January.

Mr. Kevern said the grant would be about $120,000 each year, totaling $1.2 million.

The city's waiver of charges to connect to water and sewer lines would save the company about $50,000, Mr. Kevern said.

Perrysburg also pledged to work with other local entities to help fund improvements around the Levis Development Park site, which could include upgrades to Fort Meigs and Roachton roads and the construction of roadways leading to the new facility.

If O-I decides to move its headquarters from Toledo to Perrysburg, where it owns 110 acres, it would move its North American glass-container operation into vacant space in the three buildings it has in Levis Development Park and would build another structure, probably about 75,000 square feet, to house the headquarters, officials have said.

The 102-year-old international corporation has about 50 acres of undeveloped property in the 400-acre Levis Park, which is due north of Perrysburg High School on Roachton Road.

The city of Toledo has offered an incentive package estimated at $8 million to O-I in an attempt to keep the company in the 32-story building on the corner of Cherry and Summit streets.

"Our offer may look small when you compare it to Toledo's, but we are offering some things that there's no price attached to," Mr. Kevern said. "We definitely think O-I will want to talk with us."

Senior business writer Homer Brickey contributed to this report.

Contact Rachel Zinn at:

rzinn@theblade.com or

419-410-5055.



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