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Published: Thursday, 8/6/2009

Findlay area trustees vote no on Home Depot tax break


FINDLAY - Home Depot Inc. "is evaluating its options" to build a warehouse in Hancock County's Allen Township after trustees Tuesday night rejected a request for an 85 percent tax abatement on the project.

Rejection of the abatement could kill the $39 million project which the home improvement retailer said would create up to 300 jobs. The firm planned to build a 650,000-square-foot warehouse just west of I-75 and north of State Rt. 613.

Trustees of the Findlay suburb voted 2-1 to reject the tax incentive package, which had previously been approved by the Van Buren Schools Board of Education and the Hancock County Commissioners. The Ohio Department of Development also had offered the retailer more than $600,000 in tax incentives and infrastructure improvements to move the project forward.

Home Depot originally considered both Michigan and Indiana for the project, before choosing Ohio, state development officials said. Findlay was one of several Ohio cities under consideration.

The distribution center was expected to serve 120 stores throughout the Midwest, with jobs there paying an average of $10.88 per hour, plus benefits, the company said.

"We're still interested in bringing this center and the jobs to Findlay," Home Depot spokesman Jen King said yesterday. The company was "disappointed with the [trustees'] decision," she said.

Lowe's home improvement operates a similar distribution center in suburban Findlay.

Aggie Dahar, economic development specialist with the Hancock Regional Planning Commission, could not be reached for comment.

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