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Published: Saturday, 7/29/2006

SSOE plans downtown expansion

BY MARY-BETH McLAUGHLIN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

SSOE Inc., an architectural and engineering firm in Toledo for nearly 60 years, plans a major expansion of its downtown headquarters, creating 120 jobs within three years.

Company officials did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment yesterday, but the firm's project is scheduled for a hearing Monday before the Ohio Tax Credit Authority.

The panel is to consider granting a 60 percent, six-year tax credit for the new jobs.

The firm would make a $1.5 million investment, including $450,000 to renovate its 100,000-square-foot headquarters at 1001 Madison Ave.

It also would lease 14,000 square feet in another downtown building, and spend $1 million on new computer hardware, its state-assistance application said.

Why it needs the extra space and employees was not outlined in its application. The new jobs, the firm said, would pay an average wage of $27 an hour. Lucas County, according to a state summary of the project, has committed $150,000.

The company said in its application that it has an offer for assistance from Midland, Mich. Without significant assistance from Ohio and Lucas County, the project may not be economically viable in Toledo, the company said.

SSOE, which has 290 employees in Toledo and 650 at 13 offices in the United States and two in other countries, said three years ago it might move from Toledo if it was not given a $75,000-a-year grant for 10 years. It later withdrew its demand.

Two years ago, the company hired the 60 remaining employees of a rival firm, AVCA Corp., Maumee, at its headquarters.

Contact Mary-Beth McLaughlin at

mmclaughlin@theblade.com

or 419-724-6199.



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