Duke to Build $55M Office Campus for GE Aviation in Cincinnati Suburb

Duke Realty Corp. has started construction of a $55 million, 403,800-square-foot office campus for GE Aviation in West Chester, Ohio, as the aviation company seeks to consolidate its office space in the Cincinnati region. The 43-acre campus will include two, four-story, L-shaped buildings which will be 201,900 square feet each. The site, off Union Centre Blvd. just east of Interstate-75, also has room for GE Aviation to expand in the future. Site work has already begun at the property, which Duke bought last year, a Duke spokesperson told CPN. The property was formerly the Queen City Sports Complex. In addition to its proximity to I-75, the site is also a few miles north of I-275 and located between the cities of Cincinnati and Dayton. It is also near two major international airports. “We are pleased that we are able to meet GE Aviation’s needs in terms of quality space, accessibility, and growth opportunities,” Denny Oklak, Duke chairman & CEO, said in a release today. “GE and Duke have a proven track record of working together on other developments in North America, with GE accounting for more than 1 million square feet of leased space in Duke properties in multiple states.” Duke is building a 300,000-square-foot manufacturing plant for GE Aviation in Batesville, Miss. The plant, which will produce composite fan blade platforms for the GEnx engine and composite components for military engines, is on track for completion next month, the Duke spokesperson said. GE Aviation signed a long-term lease with Duke and is expected to start moving into the new offices in fall 2009. The company will be moving 1,400 engineering and senior management jobs with average salaries of $100,000 to the new facility. It is consolidating from three offices, including two in Springdale, Ohio, which had also been in the running to keep the aviation company. “GE Aviation was also looking in northern Kentucky, so we’re very pleased that the company stayed in southwest Ohio,” Brian Coughlin, economic development director for Butler County, Ohio, told CPN. Noting the county’s location near several major interstate highways and two international airports, Coughlin said he hopes the GE announcement spurs other corporations or site coordinators to look at Butler County, which has a strong labor pool and also draws workers from Cincinnati and Dayton. “There is a tremendous amount of developable land, including a significant amount with I-75 frontage,” Coughlin said. West Chester agreed to give GE Aviation 100 percent tax abatement for the length of its lease, which is equal to about $200,000 in property taxes. The agreement calls for the creation of a joint economic development district, which allows for a payroll tax on the property. Coughlin said that should work out to at least $1.13 million a year for the township. “The township negotiated the terms and the county approves the abatements under an enterprise zone agreement that runs 15 years abating taxes 100 percent,” he said. “It’s a good deal for all concerned.”