Rolls-Royce Corp. said Tuesday it will move 2,500 employees to a downtown Indianapolis office building on South Meridian Street formerly occupied by Eli Lilly and Co.So you see how this works. Lilly got a tax abatement and other incentives a decade ago, which included the improvements it made to the Faris building. It later downsizes and empties the building. Rolls-Royce takes over the vacant property and wins another 10-year tax abatement on it. That will represent at least 20 years this property has been off the tax rolls without a single job being created. The City's claim it will collect $22 million more in revenue over 10 years as a result of the move is a flat out lie. If and when this property is returned to the tax rolls, the tax revenues generated will go into a downtown TIF district fund, which is nothing more than a slush fund for the Mayor to dole out to big contributors for downtown projects. The Mayor is simply shifting dollars that would have otherwise benefited other areas of the city to benefit downtown to the detriment of the areas affected by the loss of the relocated employees.
The British-based firm said it will begin relocating employees from its other locations in the Indianapolis area later this year. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
City officials praised the decision, saying Rolls-Royce will invest about $20 million to modernize and occupy the vacant downtown building and is contemplating additional investments of as much as $190 million in its other local facilities . . .
Develop Indy, the local economic development agency, said it will support a request for a 10-year tax abatement on the property. Develop Indy and EmployIndy also will provide $50,000 in training grants, and the state will provide $250,000 in training grants.
Officials said the city will collect an estimated $22 million more in tax revenue over 10 years as a result of the move, despite the tax abatement.
Lilly began construction on its $58 million Faris campus in 2001 with development partner Kite Realty Group Trust and it opened the following year. The campus includes the renovated Faris and Brougher buildings, a new 150,000-square-foot office building and a parking garage—all west of Meridian Street between Merrill and South streets.
Note also that Rolls-Royce was not required to commit to the additional $190 million investment locally it was "contemplating." Fat chance of that happening. The company relies heavily on defense contracts for its local production and the defense department will have to be slashed because the federal government is broke and foreigners will no longer finance our massive borrowing, a problem that has only grown in recent days as Japan's economy has been wrecked by the triple disasters of an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown within a several day period, forcing it to withdraw U.S. investments to focus on rebuilding its own nation. Economic development in Indianapolis can be summed up as follows: If it's good for Downtown, it's good for all of Indianapolis. A sad tour of the dying and dilapidated neighborhoods just beyond the mile square speaks a different story.