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Lake County Commissioners approve tax abatement for Lubrizol project

Andrew Cass | The News-Herald

The Lake County commissioners have approved a 10-year, 50-percent tax abatement enterprise zone for an expansion project at Lubrizol’s Wickliffe headquarters.

The expansion will include a fitness center, conferencing center and cafeteria. No new jobs at Lubrizol are directly tied to the project, but the company’s facility manager Dave Skursha said the facility is being sized to accommodate 500 additional employees. Lubrizol currently has about 1,200 people working in its 29400 Lakeland Blvd. location.

“We anticipate into the future we’re going to have a larger workforce,” Skursha. “This is sort of that foundation or keystone facility to support that entire new workforce as the company continues to grow.”

Skursha added this is the first of a three-phase project. The tax abatement covers only the first phase of the project. Additional office space will be part of an additional phase.

The abatement starts in 2020 and expires Dec. 31, 2029.

“Whatever new value is added there at this particular site, this will abate 50 percent of that value for a 10-year period,” Commissioner Daniel P. Troy said. After that period, the company goes back to paying 100 percent of the value.

Approval from the commissioners was the final step needed for the project to move forward. The city of Wickliffe approved the abatement at a council meeting in March.

A tax abatement enterprise zone was originally approved in 2014, but that project was put on hold.

“The project was rescoped,” Skursha said. “It’s a little bit smaller of a project than the original.”

Originally, Lubrizol proposed a two-story, nearly 100,000-square-foot building with an investment total of about $33 million.

The current plan is to build a 63,000-square-foot, single-story multi-purpose facility on the Wickliffe campus that would connect two of its existing buildings. The new projected investment total is about $28 million.

Skursha said the project will help “attract and retain the global workforce that we need to support our business.”

Lubrizol was founded in Wickliffe in 1928 and the city remains the global headquarters for the company that employs 9,000 people around the world. As a whole the company generated $7 billion in revenue in 2015.