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Published: Thursday, 10/18/2007

FedEx signs $4.6M Perrysburg Township deal

BY JC REINDL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

FedEx Ground has inked a $4.6 million land deal to build a new regional hub in Perrysburg Township, ending months of speculation on whether the package shipper would remain in northwest Ohio.

The deal, which was recorded Oct. 11 with the Wood County auditor, involved 127 acres on two parcels east of the Buck Road/I-75 interchange in the Ampoint Industrial Park.

The company bought the land from the Webb Corp. of Ohio.

"We did purchase the [127] acres at the end of last week," Fed-

Ex spokesman David Westrick said yesterday. He added that several minor permit, licensing, and clearance matters remain to be finished before construction can begin on the $87 million hub.

"We cannot say with certainty that we will develop that site until we get these clearances," Mr. Westrick said.

The company's present hub facility in South Toledo on Reynolds Road near Angola Road has about 400 employees.

Mr. Westrick said the new hub, if built, would retain the existing employees and could add as many as 200 more in three to four years, depending on business.

FedEx has acknowledged for months that Perrysburg Township was one of several potential relocation sites for the hub, along with one in Monroe County, Michigan.

Yet company officials have remained guarded in their remarks about the certainty of the Perrysburg Township plan, even while applying for various zoning changes and tax abatements.

"We bought the property because our right to do so was about to expire," Mr. Westrick said of the agreements between FedEx Ground and Webb Corp.

Nevertheless, several county and township officials yesterday regarded the land transaction as signaling a done deal.

"We're happy to have them in Wood County," said Tom Blaha, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission. "They're a significant part of the economy, and I think they will continue to be a part of the regional economy."

FedEx officials ultimately chose the Perrysburg Township site because of the area's easy access to highways and proximity to customers and potential employees, Mr. Westrick said.

The possibility of FedEx Ground moving to Perrysburg Township initially was a point of contention for Toledo officials, with Mayor Carty Finkbeiner last summer accusing Perrysburg Township of "poaching" city businesses.

Tempers calmed last month after Toledo and the township agreed, in principle, to a joint economic development district in which they would share a 2.25 percent payroll income tax.

Earlier this month, FedEx Ground applied to Wood County for a 100 percent tax abatement on improvements to the property it just purchased.

The company also is looking to build a truck parking lot and staging area in Rossford next to the Ohio Turnpike.

The lot would be used for assembling and disassembling triple-trailer rigs into singles or double tandems.

Contact JC Reindl at:

jreindl@theblade.com

or 419-724-6065.



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