A California company plans to pick Midway as the site for a new distribution and storage center that would create 262 jobs.
Lakeshore Learning Materials is considering a 40-acre site at Midway Station industrial park, north of Interstate 64. The company is a leading distributor of educational materials, and the Midway site would be its second U.S. distribution center.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority gave preliminary approval to an incentive package during a meeting Thursday in Frankfort. The state agreed to $3.7 million in tax incentives over 10 years.
KEDFA also approved Lakeshore for up to $1.4 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act. KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
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The company estimates its total investment cost for the new 500,000-square-foot building at $47.4 million. The average hourly wage would be $23, including employee benefits, according to the KEDFA documents. Company leaders expect the building will be operational by November 2017.
The company has been negotiating with local officials for about “six months or so,” said John Soper, chairman of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority.
“It’s a third-generation family-owned business,” Soper said. “They came down and met us at Holly Hill Inn and met the mayor (Grayson Vandegrift).”
The company hasn’t signed a purchase contract for the land, which will cost $2.1 million.
“We’ve still got some land issues to work out. We’re pretty close, I think,” Soper said. “We’re hoping to get a purchase contract in the next week or so.”
The company, headquartered in southern California, was looking for a central site to move their products across the eastern United States, Soper said.
Ethelyn Kaplan, a homemaker from Omaha, Neb., founded Lakeshore after relocating her family to Oakland, Calif. to open a toy store in 1954. The business soon began focusing on learning materials, moving to Carson, Calif., and launching its first catalog in 1958.
Lakeshore started developing its own products in 1988, and today the company provides teachers and parents with innovative educational products for children from birth through sixth grade. Lakeshore employs more than 2,000 people across the U.S.
The tract for Lakeshore Learning will be near the American Howa Kentucky plant, which is under construction in the same industrial park. American Howa makes interior products for the automotive industry and is projected to create 54 full-time jobs.