4:30 p.m. UPDATE:
Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton says negotiations on the expansion started around the first of the year and seemed all-or-nothing in nature.
Barton says if Crawfordsville hadn’t landed the additional jobs, it was likely the plant would have closed entirely as Penguin Random House streamlines its operation.
The company now has two national distribution centers. The other is in Maryland.
The world’s largest book publishing company has announced plans to double the size of its Crawfordsville distribution center.
Penguin Random House is set to receive more than $800,000 worth of economic incentives from the state and Montgomery County in exchange for the creation of more than 300 jobs over the next two years.
Company spokesman Stuart Applebaum says they’ll mostly be blue collar positions.
“They’re going to be, I think, assembly line jobs and labor opportunities,” he says.
The expansion will add 350,000 square feet of factory and warehouse space to the company’s existing Crawfordsville footprint, bringing the facility to one million square feet total. The company says the new space will allow it to double the number of books it ships from Crawfordsville. Hiring has begun for the jobs, which could start as soon as October.
Applebaum says the jobs number is predicated on the economy continuing to benefit the company.
“We expect to live up to the maximum number of jobs provided that our book publishing economy continues to be as healthy for us as it has been these past recent years," he says. "We’ve gone into this arrangement with Montgomery County and the state expecting to overachieve, not underachieve.”
The jobs announcement comes as the state prepares to scrutinize its tax incentives – a move made after journalists and Democratic lawmakers accused the state of not creating all the jobs that were announced and of not being transparent enough about monitoring of those contracts.
Analyses of the data showed that as many as one-third of the jobs Indiana promised between 2005 and 2009 never materialized. The state’s transparency website also says every one of the hundreds of contracts issued by the state since the beginning of 2013 is in compliance with what the company promised when the state gave a tax break.