First step in abatement for Japanese firm passes

A Japan-based company planning to convert two buildings on Columbus’ northwest side got approval for the first step toward receiving a tax abatement.

The Columbus City Council on Wednesday approved a request from Daiei Giken Kogyo Co. Ltd. that designates buildings at 810 Depot St. and 3620 Commerce Drive an economic revitalization area.

The designation qualifies the company to seek a 10-year tax abatement for $3 million in new manufacturing equipment it plans to install in the Depot Street building, which would be its new U.S. production site, said Carl Malysz, city community development director.

Daiei will locate its U.S. headquarters at a nearby building on Commerce Drive, with some additional building improvements there, said James Anderson Kaparakis, who directs production for Daiei.

The company plans to hire five employees initially and five more by the end of 2017, Kaparakis said.

Daiei is a specialty producer of industrial components made of sheet steel that it supplies to Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, which also has its North American headquarters and production operations in Columbus. The company will produce forklift pillars and other related components for Toyota.

The company selected Force Construction of Columbus to remodel the production and office space in the two buildings. The Depot Street building is 7,200 square feet, and the nearby Commerce Drive building is 7,800 square feet.

The company hopes to begin installing equipment in the next few weeks, pending approval by the council of the tax abatement, Kaparakis said. The company plans to be in full production by February but will begin some test runs of the equipment in December, he said.

Daiei, which employs more than 400 people in its facilities in Japan and China, plans to begin hiring for the production and other jobs in December.

The company is the 26th Japan-based manufacturer to locate in Columbus, said Jason Hester, executive director of the Columbus Economic Development Board.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Daiei Inc. up to $50,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. The tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Indiana residents are hired, the company cannot claim the incentives, state economic development officials said.

Daiei was one of the companies Hester and Mayor-elect Jim Lienhoop met with on a fall trade mission to Japan, Hester said.

What's next

A tax abatement for Daiei Giken Kogyo Co. Ltd. will be considered by the city council at its next meeting, 6 p.m. Nov. 17.

The company is seeking a 10-year tax abatement for $3 million in new manufacturing equipment it plans to install at 810 Depot St., which would be its new U.S. production site.

Daiei will locate its U.S. headquarters at a nearby building at 3620 Commerce Drive.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.