JASPER — Yet another building project is taking shape in the city of Jasper.
The Economic Development Commission recommended a nine-year tax abatement to the Common Council for German American Bancorp at the commission’s special meeting Friday. German American plans to build a new $6-million operations and administration center on the city’s southwest side near the Kimball Electronics headquarters. The abatement must go to the council for final approval, but if approved, awards German American a full tax abatement for the first six years, a 75 percent abatement in year seven, 50 percent in year eight and 25 percent in year nine. The council will discuss the abatement at its July meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, in city hall, 610 Main St.
German American needs the new facility because it has outgrown its current Jasper facilities and expects to see more growth in the future. The new facility will allow German American to alleviate overcrowding at its three current buildings in Jasper. The current locations will not close.
“It’s in our strategic plan to continue to grow,” said Neil Dauby, chief commercial banking officer.
Much of German American’s growth comes through acquisitions. Most recently, the company acquired River Valley Bancorp in February 2016. When German American makes an acquisition, the company would like to be able to move behind-the-scenes administration jobs to Jasper, but space has been limited. With the new building — a 40,000-square-foot structure that will house 150 employees — German American will be able to move more jobs to Jasper with future acquisitions. German American does own property in Evansville where it could house employees, but Dauby said they’d rather move people to Jasper.
“We are a Jasper bank,” Dauby said. “Our headquarters is in Jasper ... We’re very partial to Jasper.”
If the City of Jasper grants all necessary approvals in time, German American would like to start construction in August and finish in the second quarter of 2018. Once the building is complete, 90 full-time and six part-time employees will move into the space. German American also plans to hire an additional four employees at the time of opening and expects to fill the remaining 50 vacancies quickly.
German American plans to use green technology and local contractors in construction.
“The thing I appreciate is using local contractors,” said Commissioner Mark Schmidt. “That keeps other people employed here, too.”
German American’s tax abatement is the third abatement to be recommended to the council this year. The others were for an automation project at Kimball Hospitality and for a mixed-use development on South Newton built by Servus! that will serve as the company’s corporate headquarters as well as house a McAlister’s Deli and retail and housing space. The Common Council favored both abatements.