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FRANKLIN, IN-The Findlay, OH-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is closing its Moraine, OH-distribution center and moving the operation to a new facility here. The company is spending almost $31 million to move to a new 808,500-sf facility in the Franklin Tech Park. It’s not clear yet what will happen to the firm’s current 800,000-sf building at 3601 Dryden Rd. in Moraine, a suburb of Dayton, OH.

Dallas-based CCD I-65 LLC will build the facility for the tire maker. Officials from both companies did not return calls for comment for this story. Cheryl Morphew with the Johnson County Development Corp., a public-private economic development firm near Franklin, says Cooper will lease the building for an unknown term. The building is expected to open by mid-2009, and will employ 60 people by 2011, she says.

Morphew says though the city, south of Indianapolis, sees distribution center development all the time, this one is unique in that the Cooper building will be constructed to the LEED-certified standard. In return, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered the company $312,000 in tax credits and $47,500 in training grants; as well as a $110,000 infrastructure improvement grant, and the city will provide property tax abatements, $275,000 in TIF for architectural enhancement, assistance with the LEED requirements and improvements to the roads around the facility.

“This will be one of the largest LEED-certified facilities in the state, it’s really what drove the incentives,” Matthews tells GlobeSt.com. “As the crossroads to America, we’re used to distribution centers, especially being near Plainfield, IN with FedEx and CSX. With this, however, we’re hoping that the building encourages more developers that they can use more earth-friendly materials and designs.”

In May, Cooper reportedly announced at its annual shareholders meeting that it planned to shutter the Moraine location, as well as distribution centers in Cedar Rapids, IA and Dayton, NJ, in favor of building new facilities in Franklin and an undisclosed location on the East Coast. On June 23, the company said it is reducing production in its North American facilities to counter decreased demand and shortages of raw materials.

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