Carmel offers partial tax abatement for 10 years to land BraunAbility

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The Carmel city council approved two resolutions Feb. 18 that outline incentives for BraunAbility, a manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vehicles that recently announced plans to move its headquarters to Carmel and build a research and development center.

The resolution, added to the city council agenda less than two hours before the meeting, states that Carmel will give BraunAbility a 75 percent property tax abatement for 10 years attributable to capital improvements and equipment installed on the property at 645 W. Carmel Drive. The abatements only apply to an increase in the site’s assessed value that occurs as a result of development.

BraunAbility expects to spend $7.5 million to improve an existing 18,000-square-foot office building and add the 20,000-square-foot research center. The new office is expected to open by June with the technology center expected to open in 2020.

Approximately 110 employees making an average of $90,000 per year are expected to relocate to Carmel, and the company plans to hire 68 new employees at an average of $92,000 per year.

City officials have typically avoided offering tax abatements. But in this case, Brainard said it made sense and that he expects the company’s highly-paid employees to provide a boost to other local businesses.

“We had to do it for competitive reasons (considering) other jurisdictions they may have moved to,” Brainard said. “It fills an empty building, builds a new building for us and doesn’t cost us anything because (infrastructure and emergency) services are already being provided to this area.”

Brainard said the abatements are estimated to save $81,000 per year during the decade for BraunAbility, but he added that 25 percent of the taxes the company will pay during that period is more than the city is receiving from the site now.

“I see it as a delay in getting the revenue that we otherwise wouldn’t have had,” Brainard said.

BraunAbility is also receiving up to $1.3 million in conditional tax credits for the project from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

The city council is expected to hold a public hearing on the incentives before a final vote at its meeting set for 6 p.m. March 4 at City Hall.

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