Muncie commission awards less money to Accutech than mayor requested
MUNCIE, Ind. – Mayor Dan Ridenour, on behalf of Accutech Systems, has applied to the Muncie Redevelopment Commission for a $1.25 million grant as the company continues its plans to expand its downtown presence. The MRC decided to provide $750,000 instead.
Ridenour recently applied for a $1.25 million incentive grant from Accutech, which moved its headquarters from Yorktown to downtown Muncie in 2019. The company plans to hire an additional 161 people for its downtown offices. city over the next three and a half years. Its current headquarters are at 115 S. Walnut St., where approximately 120 people currently work.
The building that now houses Accutech’s headquarters was once a Sears department store. Ridenour said the software company, which makes products involving trust and money management, is looking to buy more buildings in the block. Accutech is looking for 160 parking spaces for its expanding staff.
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The first floor of 115 S. Walnut includes the Clubhouse, a restaurant, as well as digital golf and a playground. Accutech also owns the building at Jackson and Walnut streets that until recently housed Pazols jewelers; plans include opening a restaurant there, Ridenour said. The redevelopment of the former Sears building into a corporate headquarters and entertainment venue increased the assessed value of that building from $416,700 to $2.2 million.
The mayor told the commission that Accutech planned to invest $4.75 million in its expansion along the block, which he said would result in similar growth in property tax revenue for the local government.
“That’s one of the reasons redevelopment is so important,” Ridenour said.
The jobs that will become available through Accutech’s downtown expansion would offer wages of about $26 an hour, according to the mayor, who added that there are “clawback provisions” in the proposed agreement that would require the company to reimburse the city in the event that employment and salary goals were not met.
Ridenour said $100,000 of the request would be funded from economic development income tax funds rather than commission revenue, which comes from tax increase funding.
Commission Chairman Jeff Howe worked with Ridenour in developing support for Accutech. He said having recourse for the city in the event the development fails to meet its goals was a priority in the negotiations.
No one from Accutech showed up for Thursday’s meeting.
“That’s a lot of money,” Commissioner Shareen Wagley told the mayor. Wagley is Ridenour’s executive assistant.
“I feel like they’ve already proven themselves in our community,” said commissioner Isaac Miller. “It’s still a lot of money.”
Wagley suggested that the commission provide $750,000 and that Accutech could approach the Muncie Industrial Revolving Loan Fund Board to borrow the rest.
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“They can always come back to us later,” Wagley added.
Commission members approved the $750,000 grant.
Ridenour said after the meeting that he did not know how Accutech would react to the lower amount. The Star Press was unable to reach company executives.
In other matters, Brandon Murphy has resigned from the commission effective immediately. Commission Chairman Jeff Howe said. Murphy advised Howe that the demands of his law practice made it best that he step down from the commission.
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