King’s Hawaiian will now bring 300 jobs to Taylorsville

The parent company of King’s Hawaiian has more than doubled the number of new jobs they plan to bring to Taylorsville over the next four years.

That’s according to Greater Columbus Economic Development Corp. Director of Projects and Marketing Kristen Goecker, who addressed the Bartholomew County Commissioners and the Bartholomew County Council Monday.

Irresistible Foods Group, Inc., the corporation that owns the King’s Hawaiian brand, announced last year they plan to invest $150 million into a food manufacturing facility. Company officials projected at that time that 147 new jobs would be created by 2027, with an average wage of $29.94 an hour.

On Monday, Goecker announced the company now intends to invest an additional $40 million into expanding their original building and construction plans, as well as an additional $14 million for new equipment.

With the addition of 150 new jobs, the King’s Hawaiian facility is now expected to create almost 300 new jobs in German Township.

Last year, the company estimated the initial jobs will pay an average wage of $29.94 per hour. On Monday, Goecker told the commissioners the jobs being created by the expansion would provide an average $25.27 an hour. Following Goecker’s presentation, the commissioners unanimously approved a statement of benefits created for county records on behalf of Irresistible Foods Group.

About five hours later, the county council unanimously voted to give the future manufacturing facility two 10-year tax abatements. One is for real property such as land and buildings and the other for personal property such as industrial equipment.

During the abatement period, new taxes are phased in gradually at a rate of 10% a year. Only in the first year is 100% of the increase in assessed value abated.

Over the life of the abatement, the future manufacturer being built off County Road 200W, east of the Indiana Premium Outlets, will save an estimated $1.2 million in abatement deductions, Goecker told the commissioners.

However, parent company Irresistible Foods will pay an estimated $1.1 million in net new property taxes to the county, as well as maintain a $7.8 million payroll in German Township, she said.

After the company purchased 86 acres of land for development, Bartholomew County commissioners Chairman Larry Kleinhenz said it was assumed the company would expand their operations from the 368,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility announced in 2023. Several discussions on the expansion have already been held, Kleinhenz said.

Late last year, the company agreed to drop its 2023 request for a 10-year tax abatement for new equipment in exchange for additional infrastructure. However, King’s Hawaiian will keep last year’s abatement for new building and construction.

Monday’s announcement means the county will need to speed up improvements along County Road 700N, Kleinhenz said. The governing group for the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) has already earmarked $1.1 million for improvements to Road 700N, as well as for railroad crossing improvements, commissioner Tony London said.

READI is a state initiative providing funds to 17 regional districts to promote strategic investments in economic growth. Bartholomew, Jennings and Jackson counties are in a district called the South Central Indiana Talent Region $30 million in funding.

The council agreed last December to use $2.7 million from their reserve funds for infrastructure that will include $2.56 million to improve water pressure for fire suppression, and $550,000 for new or upgraded sanitary sewers.

County officials say some improvements approved last year will be financed with economic development income tax revenue, an Indiana Infrastructure Development grant fund, and other state and local financial resources up to a maximum of $3,746,000.

Those funds will pay for a $400,000 new traffic signal and intersection improvements at U.S. 31 and Bear Drive, according to a prepared overview. In addition, $250,000 will be spent on a reconfiguration of radius at Hubler Drive at Bear Lane to facilitate truck turns.

By Mark Webber — The Columbus Republic is a sister newspaper to the Daily Journal.