Tiffany and Co. may hire 125 in Lexington to manufacture jewelry

Tax incentives OK'd for plant to make jewelry

jbrammer@herald-leader.comApril 30, 2010 

FRANKFORT — Tiffany & Co., known worldwide for its jewelry, is considering building a manufacturing plant in Lexington that could create 125 full-time jobs.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority gave preliminary approval Thursday for up to $2.75 million in tax incentives to lure the company.

If the project moves forward, Tiffany would have a chance to recoup its $2.75 million investment through tax incentives, said Mandy Lambert, spokeswoman for the state Cabinet for Economic Development.

Tiffany, founded in 1837 in New York, operates jewelry and specialty retail stores around the world and manufactures its products.

The company plans to complete the manufacturing process for its jewelry and polish it in Lexington, then ship the jewelry to its distribution centers in New Jersey.

The company would pay an average hourly wage of $24.71, including benefits, and anticipates building a 25,000-square-foot plant on four acres. The site was not disclosed.

Lexington Mayor Jim Newberrry and Robert L. Quick, president and chief executive officer of Commerce Lexington, declined to comment and referred questions to Linda Buckley, Tiffany's vice president of public relations in New York City.

Buckley said in a telephone interview that Tiffany & Co. "is excited about this first step in the process of possibly building in Lexington, Ky."

She said the company hopes to announce soon a time frame for the project.

Asked why Tiffany was interested in Lexington, Buckley said Gov. Steve Beshear was "welcoming in his invitation." She also noted the labor force, demographics, quality of life and American workmanship.

The jeweler has five manufacturing facilities in the United States, she said.

The Lexington project would be an expansion of Tiffany's manufacturing operations, she said. "It's premature to say much more about Lexington, but we are pleased with this preliminary step," Buckley added.

Also on Thursday, the KEDFA board approved $200,000 in incentives for a nearly $2 million call center that Systems Integration Inc. of Landover, Md., is considering building in Lexington. The company would pay 20 workers an average hourly wage of $15.

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