By BRADEN LAMMERS
A pharmaceutical benefit management company is coming to the River Ridge Commerce Center and bringing with it 200-plus jobs with annual salaries averaging $50,000.
One Southern Indiana on Tuesday announced that Catamaran Corp., a provider of pharmacy benefit management and technology services, will build a facility that will employ pharmacists, technicians, call-center personnel and others at the commerce center in Jeffersonville.
Paul Wheatley, director of marketing and finance at River Ridge, said the expected salaries would place the company among the highest average paying jobs located within the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant site.
“I think when River Ridge was formed these were the types of jobs and companies [it] wanted located in River Ridge,” he said. “It’s exactly what we’re after here.”
The company’s plans include constructing a 75,000-square-foot building at 1050 Patrol Road, located two parcels north of the Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center. An additional 75,000 square feet adjacent to the building being constructed will be available for future expansion for the company.
One Southern Indiana President Wendy Dant Chesser said dirt is already moving on the 12-acre site that the company closed on in June. Before the deal was made public it was being referred to as Project Madness. Expectations are that the building will be constructed quickly.
“This project first hit our radar screen in February and they’re planning to be operational in November,” Dant Chesser said.
Wheatley said a deal was reached to sell the property for $45,000 per acre or a total of $540,000. The Catamaran Corp. will be distributing out of the site with 40,000 feet of the building being used as office space and the remaining 35,000 square feet being the pharmacy itself.
Catamaran, which operates 11 other specialty pharmacy facilities across the country and recently opened a Center of Excellence in Indianapolis, chose to locate in River Ridge over several areas being considered.
“Though we evaluated several different states and regions during our comprehensive site search, southern Indiana, specifically the Jeffersonville area, offered the most strategic location and advantageous economic incentives, in addition to a strong workforce and great business climate,” said Joel Saban, executive vice president of pharmacy operations at Catamaran, in a press release.
Several tax incentives were offered to the company for locating in River Ridge. Dent Chesser said the state offered two performance-based incentives: an Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credit for employment of $2.5 million over a 10-year period; and a one-time $100,000 credit for the state’s Skills Enhancement Fund. The River Ridge Urban Enterprise Zone also offered a $2 million tax credit on the property and personal property over a 10-year period. Catamaran Corp. is expected to make a capital investment in River Ridge of more than $19 million.
Dant Chesser said the employment-based tax credits are based off of the company’s plans to hire 104 employees in 2014 and have 205 full-time employees at the facility by 2015.
“This is real exciting for us,” she said, citing the average $23.90 per hour the company is expected to pay its employees. “When you think of payroll enhancements to the area ... [this] is going to filter out through a lot of types of businesses. A lot of communities strive to bring in $50,000-per-year jobs.”
The official announcement of Catamaran Corp. follows a host of businesses that have moved or opened operations in River Ridge during the 18 months. Despite not being a match for all businesses looking to locate in the region, Dant Chesser said River Ridge Commerce Center has certainly drawn attention to Clark and Floyd counties.
“River Ridge is not going to be a perfect match for all companies ... there’s also other good stuff around here,” she said. “River Ridge is a beacon. It is truly a magnet for the region.”
Catamaran Corp.’s stock (Nasdaq: CTRX) closed down 80 cents, or 1.64 percent, at $47.87 per share Tuesday.
AMERICAN FUJI SEAL
Another River Ridge deal has been finalized, and plans for both properties went before the Jeffersonville Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals on Tuesday night.
Bruce Atcher, vice president of American Fuji Seal Inc., confirmed a deal was reached for the purchase of 23 acres, for $1.04 million in the commerce center.
The Japanese company with its American operations headquartered in Bardstown, Ky., produces a variety of packaging materials — including shrink sleeve labels, in-mold labels and thermo-shield Insulating labels — and will locate directly behind the 1-million-square-foot Amazon.com Inc. distribution center at the corner of International Drive and Trey Street.
Atcher said initial plans are to construct an 84,000-square-foot building, but added that there “obvious” expansion plans for the River Ridge location. He said he could see that building being expanded into a 200,000 to 250,000-square-foot space. There are no plans to move operations or employees from the companies Bardstown, Ky., location.
In its initial phase American Fuji Seal anticipates hiring 50 to 60 people, at a base pay of $16 to $16.50 per hour and hopes to be open in early 2014, Atcher said. He said the company has already begun some grading work and it is waiting on additional approvals to begin construction.
When asked why American Fuji Seal decided to locate in River Ridge Atcher said, “mainly the location to our customer base [and] the geographic center of that happened to be pretty close to Jeffersonville. We’re excited to be there,” he added.
For more information about American Fuji Seal Inc. visit www.fujiseal.co.jp/americas/