Big Ass Fans planning expansion in Lexington

ssloan@herald-leader.comMarch 29, 2012 

State officials approved tax incentives Thursday for a planned expansion of Lexington-based Big Ass Fans. If completed, the expansion would add 150 employees within six years.

Documents provided by state officials say the company is seeking to build a 72,000-square-foot facility that would include 56,000 square feet for office space and 16,000 square feet for general use and warehouse storage.

The 150 jobs would pay an average hourly wage of $22 including benefits.

The company declined to discuss the expansion, as it's not yet finalized and no time line has been established, said spokeswoman Sherrell Watson.

Big Ass Fans has three buildings in Lexington — its headquarters and manufacturing operations on Merchant Street off Leestown Road, a research facility on Jaggie Fox Way off Georgetown Road, and an older building it intended to sell but now uses for office workers on Winchester Road.

This week, owner Carey Smith told the Herald-Leader about the need for a new building eventually due to the company's rapid expansion.

"The one thing that bothers me is that every time we do this, I think, 'That's perfect, this is great and this is big enough,'" he said. "But every time we do this it's not enough space.

"The next time we do this, we're going to make it so that we can expand it."

The company has recently added a residential fan model to its array of industrial fans known for large diameters, reflected in the company's name.

According to the state documents, the company is considering adding a new production line as it looks to keep up with its growth.

The new building is expected to cost $8 million. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority on Thursday approved $2 million in tax incentives.

In general, when a company accepts the tax incentive, it can keep that amount of money, which it would otherwise pay in taxes, assuming it fulfills the terms of the deal. The company was also approved for $210,000 in additional incentives under a different program.

Scott Sloan: (859) 231-1447. Twitter: @HeraldLeaderBiz

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