Amazon, Sazerac OK'd for state tax incentives

ctruman@herald-leader.comDecember 12, 2013 

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority board Thursday approved tax incentives for companies including the liquor giant Sazerac North America and huge online retailer, that are considering new investments in the state.

The board also approved a change to the tax increment financing plan for downtown Lexington that includes the CentrePointe project.

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.

Here are selected board preliminary approvals, unless otherwise noted:

Sazerac North America: The New Orleans-based parent company of Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort was approved for $2 million in tax incentives for a $45 million proposed new automated storage and retrieval system, for buying additional equipment and for improving existing barrel storage warehouses. Twenty new jobs are projected, with an average hourly wage of $30.50 including benefits.

The finance authority also approved $500,000 in tax incentives for another Sazerac project, in Owensboro, for an automated storage and retrieval system.

A nearly $5 million Sazerac project in Bardstown received tax incentives of $3.2 million for expansion and investing in new equipment. The Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, owned by Sazerac, produces the 1792 Ridgemont Reserve brand. The Seattle-based online retailer received tax incentives of $132,000 on a $4.3 million investment to potentially upgrade the HVAC system of its distribution center in Campbellsville.

A&W Restaurants: Final approval was given to $600,000 in incentives for the dining chain, which established worldwide headquarters in Lexington. An additional 30 jobs are expected to be created, with an average hourly wage of $40 including benefits.

Downtown Lexington TIF project: The board also approved a change to the Phoenix Park/Courthouse Signature tax increment financing project, which includes the CentrePointe development, set to begin site work this month.

The amendment requests a change to the TIF plan to allow the recovery of sales tax paid on construction materials used.

The amendment does not affect the amount to be recovered — the board previously approved $48.8 million of tax increments — but provides for an additional recovery method. The CentrePointe project is estimated to cost $393.9 million, including financing costs.

Cheryl Truman: (859) 231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.Cheryl Truman: (859) 231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.

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