A city board on Monday approved a six-year, 50 percent property tax abatement for a company that plans to move from Heritage Center, the former K-25 site, to Horizon Center, a few miles northeast.
MCLinc is now in Building K-1006 at Heritage Center, which is also known as East Tennessee Technology Park. A conference center at ETTP’s main entrance is leased for special events, and MCLinc has the next building on the right. It’s been home to a laboratory since 1965. MCLinc (Materials and Chemistry Laboratory) has been there since 1998, when the company started.
But the building is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy, and it is slated for demolition, said Barry Stephenson, MCLinc president and chief executive officer. Attempts to acquire the building have not panned out, Stephenson told the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board on Monday.
Three years ago, the company, an analytical testing laboratory, received notice that they have to move, Stephenson said. He told the IDB that MCLinc has to be out of the building by September 2018.
MCLinc has an option to purchase 11.4 acres from RSI at Horizon Center. It’s a corner lot on the right at the first entrance to Horizon Center going west from Oak Ridge toward Kingston on Highway 95/58. The company wanted to be close to customers and the west end of Oak Ridge, and the property is ideally located, Stephenson said.
Plans call for a single-story, 29,000-square-foot building there.
MCLinc plans to invest $4.4 million. Including the moving of fixtures and equipment, the investment would be slightly over $5 million, Stephenson said. It will be a corporate headquarters.
MCLinc would start with its normal 20-25 jobs and increase to 46 jobs over five years, he said.
About half of the company’s work is for the federal government, and most of that is for the U.S. Department of Energy, Stephenson said. That half includes work for ETTP, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Y-12 National Security Complex.
The other half of the work is commercial.
Stephenson said the company’s work includes analytical testing such as environmental and industrial hygiene testing; chemical process work; and industrial forensics, like a “CSI” for products and processes, and some insurance investigations, but most of it’s for industry.
The tax abatement, an agreement known as a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement, was approved by the IDB with no opposition. Present at Monday’s meeting were IDB Chair David Wilson and board members Richard Chinn, Louise Dunlap, David Mason, Hal Osucha, Buzz Patrick, Harold Trapp, and Phil Yager.
Wilson said the agreement had been recommended by City Manager Mark Watson.
Osucha said he’ll be happy to see the development in Horizon Center.
“I think we’re all happy to have you,” Chinn said.
Wilson said officials won’t know the amount of the tax abatement until the final amount of the construction, equipment, and land value has been calculated and put on the tax roll.
“As for the PILOT agreement, once all of the covenants have been completed, it will be done,” Wilson said. “It will not have to go back to City Council.”
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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