German American Bank plans on building a $6 million operations center with enough space for up to 150 employees on Jasper’s south side.
If things continue forward as planned, the company will break ground on the new facility in August and open in the spring of 2018.
Representatives with the company met with the Jasper Economic Development Commission in a special meeting Friday morning to present a tax abatement request for the new facility.
According to the company’s application, GAB is poised to purchase 7.5 acres located on West 12th Avenue between the Kimball Electronics headquarters and the Jasper Sports Complex for the 40,000 square foot facility. The new operations center will house support staff for the company’s operations throughout its footprint in Indiana.
“What is going to be moving out there are our back office operations,” said Neil Dauby, GAB’s Chief Commercial Banking Officer. “We will have loan operations, deposit operations, items processing, our contact center will be out there, so there is going to be a multitude of all of the types of support for our customer-facing people that are out in our branches.”
Dauby explained that with the recent acquisition of River Valley Bancorp, the company has added significantly to its operations creating more jobs in Dubois County. The half billion dollar acquisition of the southeast Indiana bank added to GAB’s approximate $2.5 billion value.
“We are a $3 billion organization and we are looking to grow,” Dauby said. “In our industry, you have to continue to grow to be viable. You also have to be a high performer to stay independent. Our organization wants to be an independently owned local bank so in order to do that we must continue to grow. We have strategic plans in place to grow well over $3 billion. To do so we are going to need that back office to support our growth.”
Dauby pointed out that although the bank can continue to grow organically through new customers, it will also grow by continuing to acquire other banks. The 2016 River Valley Bancorp acquisition added ten full-time positions in Jasper. According to Dauby, the company could have easily added 20 new positions but for the limited space they have available in Dubois County. Those extra ten jobs were filled outside of the county.
“Anytime we have a half billion dollar acquisition, right there 10 to 15 support staff positions are created,” Dauby said. “Anytime you hear us making an acquisition, that is new jobs in Jasper.”
The expansion is being sought to relieve space issues the company has in its two Main Street locations in Jasper. The 711 and 811 Main Street locations are filled. To accommodate employees, the company leases extra space in Jasper. The new operations center will alleviate some of the crowding at the Main Street buildings and allow the company to no longer have to lease space.
The new building will have room for 150 employees and will include an in-house fitness center. Although initially 96 employees will move into the new center and four new positions were included in the tax abatement application, the company expects to be able to fill positions to bring it to capacity fairly quickly. During the presentation, the representatives alluded to the company’s plans to facilitate future expansions on the property as it continues to grow.
The company’s executive team will remain on Main Street.
In applying for the tax abatement, GAB reiterated its roots in Dubois County and Jasper but explained it had room to move jobs to its Evansville office located on Vogel Avenue. “We have been here over a 100 years. We are a Dubois County/Jasper company,” Dauby added. “We are in other large markets like Evansville, Bloomington and Columbus and we have options to grow our facilities there but we are very partial to growing here.”
In scoring the application, the economic development commission recommended a nine year tax abatement on the project. The first six years will be 100 percent of the property taxes abated, year seven 75 percent, year eight 50 percent, year nine 25 percent.
“We have been pretty busy lately,” Economic Development Commission President Andy Seger said alluding to Kimball Hospitality’s recent expansion plans as well as Servus! new headquarters that have come forward for tax abatements. “And for this group, that’s a good thing.”
GAB employs more than 600 people of which 257 are located in Dubois County. Recently, GAB donated half a million dollars to support the Jasper Cultural Center project. They also contributed to the creation of the German American Boulevard near the RiverWalk. “With our people and our dollars, we are very much a good corporate citizen,” Dauby said.
The Jasper Common Council will consider the recommendation for approval at its meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19 at City Hall.