GREENFIELD — A major trucking company wrapping up its first phase of construction in Hancock County is poised to add nearly 900 employees to the local workforce in the next decade.
Celadon Group Inc., which broke ground in Greenfield last fall, has been named the recipient of $3 million in state tax incentives, an agreement that requires the company to create 375 new jobs by 2024, all of which will be housed in its new Hancock County headquarters.
That’s in addition to the 500 current Celadon employees the company plans to transfer to the new business campus near the intersection of Mt. Comfort Road and West County Road 300N — increasing Hancock County’s workforce by 875 over the next seven years and making it among the county’s largest employers.
Celadon, which expects to finish construction on its main terminal and truck maintenance area this summer, offers full-service transportation for nationally-recognized companies including Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and General Motors.
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Indiana Economic Development Corp. recently offered Celadon its Indiana’s Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, tax credit — a tax incentive the business can accept only if it meets certain agreed-upon goals for hiring and pay within a set number of years.
Records show Celadon’s agreement with the state could save the company $2.99 million if it meets the 375-job mark by 2024. Celadon will be eligible to claim the tax credit for the years 2020-29, after which it will be subject to a two-year reporting period to make sure it’s still in compliance with contract terms.
The job numbers outlined in the contract are based on Celadon’s projected overall growth — an upward trend that has doubled in the last five years, company spokesman Joe Weigel said.
Celadon had revenues of $1.1 billion in the fiscal year 2016, which ended June 30. That figure was $568 million in fiscal year 2011, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.
Increasing the numbers of job offerings the company will offer in the coming years can mean great things for the local economy, said Skip Kuker, the director of the Hancock Economic Development Council. Having big businesses like Celadon within the county lines makes Hancock more attractive for other types of development, both retail and residential.
It’s still too early to know what types of jobs the company will create, but it has committed to offering a minimum wage of $10.96 per hour, according to the contract, which does not detail benefit packages for employees. Weigel expects the new jobs will include positions for new truck drivers and personnel to work in the terminal and administrative buildings on the new Mt. Comfort campus.
Founded in 1985, Celadon employs more than 4,000 people nationwide and runs trucking routes throughout North America with divisions in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
A year ago, the company began eyeing land in Hancock County for its headquarters.
Celadon broke ground on a 160-acre site just north of Interstate 70 in October, announcing plans to transplant company headquarters to the spot from its current location just east of Post Road in Indianapolis. At the time, Celadon officials said they had outgrown their Indianapolis location and were looking for a place to expand.
Construction plans for the Mt. Comfort site include a four-story, 54,000- square-foot administration building; a 73,000-square-foot maintenance facility; and a 30,000-square-foot dormitory available for drivers staying overnight. Two retention ponds on the property would collect rainwater runoff.
The site would serve as an overnight hub for drivers and would feature a six-acre paved lot for driver training, according to development plans submitted to the county planning office.
The campus carries a price tag of $28 million, officials said.
Tax breaks like the state’s EDGE credit program help companies like Celadon continue to thrive while growing Indiana’s economy and workforce, said Abby Gras, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
Incentives like the EDGE tax credit make Indiana more attractive to corporations looking to relocate or expand, Gras added. The goal is to encourage businesses to choose to grow or stay in Indiana rather than take their business to another state, she said.
After shopping for land around the state, Celadon settled on Hancock County after being approved for a tax break that will likely save the company up to $4.3 million in local property taxes over a 10-year period; the company would pay approximately $2.5 million in taxes to the county during that same period of time, officials said.
As Celadon rises to be one of the county’s biggest employers, Kuker hopes its workers will see that Hancock County has a lot to offer by way of housing, as well.
If the people Celadon hires to fill those nearly 400 job openings decide to move into the county, that will build the local income-tax base, Kuker said.
Everyone benefits when dollars earned at businesses in Hancock County are spent at businesses in Hancock County because boosts the local economy even more, he said.
The Indianapolis Business Journal contributed to this report.