By Kyle Roberts
Despite the less than pleasant weather, it was all smiles for community members who packed under the tent Thursday afternoon to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Chase Operations Center, which is scheduled to be completed in 2025 on the I-20 West service road.
“What a great day in Ruston and Lincoln Parish,” Ruston mayor Ronny Walker said. “This is so exciting. We’ve been looking forward for this for quite awhile; I do want to recognize our city council members who are here today John Denny, Carolyn Cage, Melanie Lewis, Angela Mayfield and Bruce Siegmund. Without those five people, we couldn’t have done any of this. So thank you so much from our council members. I also want to thank Bert Jones and his family. Without them, this would not be possible either. And I want to especially thank Justyn Dixon and Mike Brusada from the (North Louisiana Economic Partnership) for all the hard work they did.
“This is just incredible that we’re having this day today. We have been working on this literally for four years, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it than with all our friends and all of you here today.”
Following the mayor, Tania Hilburn, managing director of Chase Home Lending Loan Administration and site lead for the Ruston operations center, addressed the crowd.
“Part of my responsibility is making sure we have a resilient business,” Hilburn said. “I am so proud to be able to say that we are going to build a 50,000 square foot facility, and a $30 million investment in this city, The Piney Woods, the central part of Louisiana. and what is very close to my hometown, which is Simsboro; that’s where I grew up and went to school and went to Louisiana Tech here. And it’s just great pride that we had the opportunity to have this site here in Ruston.”
As previously reported by the Lincoln Parish Journal, in order to secure Chase’s new Operations Center in Ruston, the parish provided the company with a competitive incentives package that includes property and sales tax abatements. A Payment In Lieu Of Taxes agreement will be awarded contingent on the company’s creation of up to 200 full-time positions in Lincoln Parish over a course of time.
JP Morgan Chase asked for a 15 year tax sliding property tax abatement, as well as a 50 percent abatement on tax from construction equipment and an abatement of five years on sales taxes on computers and technology. The property tax abatement will be dependent on the number of jobs created: starting at 25 percent for 0-24 jobs and capping at 75 percent for 151-200 jobs.
The Ruston facility will have a front operation office center with staff processing and computer processing of data with image scanners along with a vault that will be a large part of the square footage of the building.