GREENWOOD, Ind – Greenwood city officials are in an unusual situation as they mull a proposal for a major new development from a company who hasn’t revealed their name.
The unnamed company wants to invest about $80 million to build a 615,000 square foot distribution center just east of I-65, not far from Worthsville Rd. The company is being represented by Developer Scannell Properties, who has named the proposal “Project Brutus.” A project overview is now being reviewed by the Greenwood City-Council, Redevelopment Commission and other city officials.
“They’re keeping it quiet and private because it’s a major investment, and the company behind it just feels it’s best in their site selection that they keep it that way,” said Redevelopment Commission President Brent Tilson. “But it is very unusual.”
Tilson said non-disclosure agreements between companies and government entities are common. City officials were in talks with Fed-Ex for roughly a year before announcing plans for a $259 million facility that was never built. In this case, only the developer knows the name of the company.
“The city literally does not know,” Tilson said. “Normally the city, key people, understand who it is so they can make decisions. In this case, we don’t know who the company is.”
The project overview presented by Scannell Properties shows a large facility that includes several loading docks and room for hundreds of semi trailers on the property. It also includes plans to improve several roads surrounding the facility. Jobs listed in the plan are described as “parcel fulfillment laborers” and “managerial and administrative roles.”
All 1,250 jobs would be full-time with an average wage of $14.50 per hour before benefits. Including benefits, the average wage would be $18 per hour.
The company is asking for roughly $7 million in tax abatements over a ten year period, Tilson said. During that time, the city would still receive about $7 million in taxes from the company.
After the abatement period, the city would receive about $1.4 million in taxes per year.
“This is not just a warehouse,” said Greenwood City-Council President Mike Campbell. “They’re not going to bring a bunch of stuff in and store it. It’s going to be one of those facilities where things come in one door in bulk, and go out the other door.”
The $80 million investment is significantly lower than the $259 million plan by Fed-Ex. But “Project Brutus” would add nearly three times as many jobs. Tilson and Campbell said that could suggest a 24-hour operation with three different shifts.
Excitement about the new development is also paired with caution, Wilson said. “Project Brutus” would be located in the same area where Fed-Ex planned to build before pulling out of the deal in March this year.
It’s also just south of where plans for Cabela’s, Greenwood Towne Center, a sports complex and other projects have not panned out.
“I think the city is very careful,” Tilson said. “Certainly many opportunities have come before us. Some have seemed like they’re going to get close, like the Fed-Ex, which at the end it was their decision not to continue to expand.”
“I’m pleased with everything that I see,” Campbell said. “The only real hang up right now would be finding out who it is.”
Campbell says he understands a company’s need for confidentiality. But he and other council members will definitely want to find out who they’re dealing with before approving any tax breaks.
“We made the abatements they’re asking for contingent upon us finding out who this is before the final approvals,” Campbell said.
Campbell and Tilson believe the city will learn the name of the company in mid-September when the proposal comes before the council again.
The city-council will have to approve the tax breaks twice before the plan can move forward. If all is approved, Tilson said the company wants to be fully constructed and operational by the end of 2019.