Jets, sandwiches, dog treats, bitcoin: Columbus offers incentives for companies bringing 1,200 jobs

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COLUMBUS (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — A second manufacturing facility for a prepared foods company supplying Starbucks, airlines, and other customers is adding a second production facility in central Ohio, creating more than 300 jobs – part of more than 1,200 new jobs for Columbus pledged in six incentives before City Council on Monday.


SK Food Group Inc. plans to renovate a vacant warehouse on the far west side of Columbus, near the CSX rail yard, according to the Department of Development fact sheet. The Seattle company opened a plant in Groveport six years ago assembling sandwiches, wraps, and other packaged foods.

Columbus was competing with the company’s plants in Reno and Phoenix for the expansion, council documents say. SK’s other production facilities are in Tupelo, Mississippi, and two each in Minneapolis and Canada.

Other jobs creation incentives proposed to the city already have won state incentives, including NetJets and BarkBox. The city incentives are payments based on a percentage of income tax withholding, with a higher rate for hiring city residents.

Here’s what’s on the agenda:

  • SK Food: The company will invest $18 million to renovate and equip the 144,000-square-foot warehouse at 2955-3035 Charter St., creating 305 new jobs with annual payroll of $12.4 million. The five-year incentive of 30%, or 30% for in-Columbus hires, would save the company $465,000 to $542,000 if it creates all the pledged jobs, depending on the mix of employee residency, and net the city more than $1 million in new income tax.
  • BarkBox Inc.: The e-commerce pet supply company will invest $150,000 to expand its customer support center at 500 W. Broad St., keeping 250 jobs and adding 400 jobs, for combined payroll of more than $30 million. The five-year 30% or 35% incentive would save the company $705,500 to $822,500 while netting the city some $1.6 million in income tax.
  • NetJets Inc.: The world’s largest private jet company plans to add 154 jobs while retaining 1,516 at its headquarters at 4111 Bridgeway Park, adding $12.7 million to existing annual payroll of $126 million. The incentive of 25% or 30% would save the company $398,000 to $478,000 over five years, while netting the city more than $1.1 million.
  • Hollingsworth Logistics Group LLC: The Detroit-area third-party trucking and logistics group will invest $850,000 on additional equipment for its warehouse at 2450 Spiegel Dr. near Rickenbacker International Airport, adding 95 new jobs to a staff of 16 for a total annual payroll of $4 million. The five-year 25% or 30% incentive would save the company $103,000 to $124,000 and net the city $289,000 to $310,000.
  • River Financial Inc.: The San Francisco-based bitcoin brokerage plans to invest $293,000 to equip a downtown administrative office at 80 E. Rich St. and create 30 new jobs in addition to a staff of four in the city, for a combined payroll of $2.7 million. Under a different program than the jobs incentive, the downtown incentive is 50% of withholding. If it creates all the pledged jobs, over five years the company and city would each realize $141,000.
  • Upstart Holdings Inc.: The city is extending an existing incentive for the Silicon Valley-based AI-powered platform helping banks broaden access to consumer loans, because of rapid growth of its Columbus second headquarters. The proposal increases the jobs target to 350 from 100 and extends the deal to six years from five. It also adds office space in the WeWork building at 800 N. High St. to the company’s main Short North offices in 711 N. High St. Already surpassing 500 Columbus jobs, the public company is leasing an entire building next year at Easton and has announced plans to grow to 1,000 jobs in the city.

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