Franklinton social enterprise call center – creating jobs and public parking – poised for Columbus tax incentives
By Carrie Ghose- Staff reporter, Columbus Business First
Nov 19, 2018, 1:36pm
A Franklinton social enterprise call center could get $1.55 million in Columbus tax incentives toward renovating an emptying medical office building and creating more than 125 jobs for people to work their way out of poverty.
The $12.4 million project also will provides 150 public parking spaces handy to the future redevelopment of its neighbors, Mount Carmel West's campus and former Graham Ford site.
Fortuity Calling LLC started construction this fall and expects to start operating by the end of the year with a small crew for its first corporate client in the building at 750 Mount Carmel Mall. (It plans to petition to change to a West Broad Street address.)
A package to be introduced to City Council Monday includes a 10-year, 75-percent property tax abatement and six-year job creation incentive equal to 60 percent of income tax withholding. The Department of Development also plans to propose a 30-year TIF for infrastructure improvements on the site.
With the abatements, the city would net about $988,860 in property and income taxes over 10 years, including four years' full benefit of income taxes when the jobs incentive expires.
Fortuity plans to employ 200 or more, so tax collections could go higher. It won't ramp up hiring until interior demolition and construction are complete in June, creating an open plan for the second-floor call center.
Founded by call center industry veterans Fred Brothers and Katie Robinson, Fortuity will hire people with a high school diploma or equivalent, train them and surround them with support and services – including on-site affordable child care by nonprofit Columbus Early Learning Centers.
Starting at about $11 hourly, workers have at least seven stages for promotions. Over five to seven years, the top management level pays as much as $28 hourly.
Some Mount Carmel Health System physician practices will remain in the building adjacent to Mount Carmel West, including primary care and behavioral health. Most are moving along with the hospital's 1,500 employees when Mount Carmel Grove City opens early next year. Inpatient buildings will be demolished for redevelopment as an outpatient campus focused on education and wellness, including an expanded nursing college.
Fortuity will rehab its attached 300-space garage, making half available to the public. Most call center employees are anticipated to take public transit.
The project also encloses parking beneath the building for the child care center and a cafeteria, increasing the office to 72,000 square feet from 55,000 square feet.
Columbus Works Inc. has moved its headquarters to the building and will share Fortuity’s third-floor training center. A chapter of nonprofit Cincinnati Works, the job-readiness program assertively helps new entrants to the labor force surmount the barriers between poverty and employment, including transportation and hunger.
Fortuity Calling is the operating subsidiary of building owner Fortuity Holding LLC.
The project was financed by $10.6 million in federal and state New Markets Tax Credits approved by Columbus-baesd Finance Fund. Capital One, the project's tax credit investor, allocated an additional $1 million in tax credits. Fortuity also has a $7.6 million loan from the state Development Services Agency, and qualifies for up to $500,000 in Franklin County job-training grants.
Uprising Capital LLC, an investment fund for nonprofits and social enterprise also founded by Brothers and Robinson, has $1 million equity in the project.