Athens company gets county tax abatement, JobsOhio funding for expansion

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A real estate tax abatement for the expansion of RXQ Compounding was approved Tuesday by the Athens County Commissioners. It’s part of a financial assistance package that also includes a loan and grant from JobsOhio.

The expansion is expected to retain jobs and create 75 new jobs.

RXQ Compounding is currently located in the Ohio University Innovation Center and makes sterile drugs for hospitals and physicians. The Messenger recently reported that RXQ purchased a former medical office building on Blizzard Drive in Albany for $791,296 and is planning to add an attached 35,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Site work for the construction project has been under way.

The JobsOhio financial assistance includes a $100,000 workforce grant and a $2 million loan, according to an email The Messenger received Tuesday from JobsOhio.

“We are thrilled to support RXQ’s national platform growth from its Athens, Ohio base,” said Aaron Pitts, JobsOhio senior managing director for biohealth. “RXQ provides a valuable service to health providers across the USA, has a talented leadership team and board, and is poised for long-term growth.”

The commissioners granted a 60 percent, 10-year real estate tax abatement on the improvements that will be made to the property. The approval was unanimous.

Commissioner Charlie Adkins raised the matter of Alexander Local Schools not getting the full tax benefit from the project because of the abatement. However, the school district will benefit from the 40 percent that will be collected on the improvements as well as from taxes collected on the current assessed value of the existing building and property.

Alexander Schools and Tri-County Career Center were notified of the abatement request, the commissioners said, but the schools’ approval is not required because the abatement is limited to 60 percent.

Commissioner Lenny Eliason said he supported the abatement because of the good-paying jobs that will be created, the fact that the schools will still get a tax benefit and because the property (which was owned by Sheltering Arms Hospital Foundation) will be going back on the tax rolls. Adkins indicated he agreed with those reasons.

 Under an enterprise zone agreement approved by the commissioners, RXQ is agreeing to retain 17 jobs and create 75 new jobs over three years. However, progress has already been made toward those 75 jobs, with RXQ founder and President Edward Zatta saying the company has been hiring and now has about 35 full-time employees.

The agreement states that the average wage, excluding the owner’s salary, will be $18 per hour, with the company paying at least 50 percent of employee health insurance costs.

The project will involve a total investment by RXQ of at least $1.5 million up to $2.5 million, according to the agreement.

If RXQ fails to fulfill its obligations under the agreement, the county can require repayment of the amount of exempted taxes.