Westinghouse Electric Co. on Tuesday won an 11-year property tax break related to its planned expansion slated to add 52 jobs in Chattanooga.
But, in what’s believed to be a first for a payment in lieu of tax agreement in Hamilton County, Westinghouse will continue to pay the schools portion of its tax bill, an official said.
“That’s something we’ve struggled with here,” said Dan Mayfield, chairman of the county’s Industrial Development Board, which approved the tax break. “It’s great you’re using this project to set a precedent.”
John Reich, principal engineer for Westinghouse in the city, told the board the jobs will pay about $85,000 a year on average.
“We will try to make it a showcase for training,” Mr. Reich said of the office that services nuclear power plants.
He said about 20 jobs have already been added so far, bringing the Toshiba Group company up to 95 workers in the city.
The company is slated to invest $9.45 million into a new services facility with the purchase of the vacant Metals USA building in Centre South Riverport off Amnicola Highway.
Westinghouse leases a building from Alstom Power on Riverfront Parkway. Alstom had planned to discontinue the lease because it needs the facility for its $280 million expansion announced in December.
Kurt Faires, an attorney representing Westinghouse, said the company will receive a 100 percent tax abatement the first year, but will pay its school taxes during the entire 11 years of the agreement.
“The schools aren’t getting shorted,” he said.
Steve Hiatt, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s existing business development director, said he did not know how much tax savings Westinghouse will receive.
Chamber officials have lauded the expansion, saying it helps Chattanooga’s standing in the nuclear and power generation sector.
Mr. Mayfield said the nuclear industry has a rich history in the city.
“It’s good to know that tradition stays here,” he said.
Mr. Reich said the Chattanooga operation does both design and service work.
“We’d definitely like to grow more,” he said.
Westinghouse plans to be in its Centre South Riverport facility around September, an official said Tuesday.
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...