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Oakley loses out on GE deal

CINCINNATI (Angenette Levy) -- General Electric will build a new service center at The Banks that will employ at least 1,800 people.

The city gave GE one of the largest incentive packages ever offered by Cincinnati to an employer. GE will get an 85% payroll tax credit for 15 years. Many of the 1,800 employees will come from other cities but some will be hired from our area. The positions will be in departments such as IT and human resources.  The Banks beat out Mason and another Cincinnati neighborhood - Oakley - for the service center.

"It's great. It's fantastic that they're coming to Cincinnati. That's the most important thing. Am I disappointed that they didn't come to Oakley? Of course I am," said Mark Rogers, owner of the 20th Century Theatre.

GE considered a lot at Oakley Station on the former Cincinnati Milacron site. Dianne Lytle, owner of Aglamesis Brothers, shared in the disappointment.

"Our business has been here for over a century now and we've seen the neighborhood in various cycles," Lytle said.

Lytle's grandfather opened the ice cream store in 1913 because the Cincinnati Milling Machine Company - later known as Cincinnati Milacron - was nearby.  That company ensured a steady stream of customers for the ice cream parlor.  When the company shut down, it hurt the neighborhood.  But over the last 10 years Oakley's made a comeback.
"I was really hoping GE would decide to come here to know on a long-term basis that we would continue that vibrancy," Lytle said.

Lytle hopes GE employees will visit Oakley. The employees' average salary will be $79,000.

"So these are people that are moving to our region, buying houses, going to our schools, shopping at our stores, so the economic impact for the whole region is just phenomenal," said Amy Murray, a Cincinnati city council member. 

Murray called the Oakley site "prime real estate" and hopes the city will help find a big company to build there.  Mark Rogers hopes the publicity that Oakley received during the search will help in attracting a new, corporate neighbor.

"Oakley's always open for business," "Rogers said.

Construction on the new service center will start later this year and will be finished in 2016. GE will pay $90 million to build it.

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