CINCINNATI - Sources confirm to 9 News that Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands will move its corporate headquarters to Charlotte, N.C. after a $22 million incentives deal was approved Tuesday.
The Economic Investment Committee in North Carolina voted Tuesday to approve the incentives deal to move the global headquarters from Cincinnati. The deal includes more than $20 million in state incentives and more than $2 million from local government.
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The panel says the move of Chiquita's headquarters, along with research and development laboratories, means Cincinnati will lose about 375 jobs by 2014. The jobs moving to Charlotte are supposed to pay an average of about $107,000, according to the Associated Press.
Committee members say the incentives were needed to give Charlotte an edge over Ohio, Florida and Louisiana.
A formal announcement is expected during a 4 p.m. news conference in Charlotte. You can watch the live news conference here on WCPO.com.
Several city council members told 9 News they were not surprised by Chiquita's decision to move. Councilman Cecil Thomas said the city and the state were aggressive in trying to get them to stay.
"We collaborated with the state and put an offer on the table. However its all about business and that bottom line number," said Thomas. "You can't expect a company to stay in a location if they can't meet the bottom line number."
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls said she expected Chiquita to move.
"Chiquita has its own business needs. One, its oriented towards Latin America. It needs direct flights to Latin America and the city of Charlotte as well as the state put together very aggressive packages. At a certain point, you have to do a cost benefit analysis," said Qualls. "If the cost outweighs the benefits, there's a limit to what you are willing to do."
The move would also have a significant impact on other professional services in the Tri-State -- design services, marketing services, legal services and accounting services.
In September, Cincinnati offered the company city and state tax incentives to add 90 jobs over three years. However, Charlotte reportedly had offered a $4 million incentive package. Miami, Florida was also trying to land the company.
Chiquita spokesperson, Ed Loyd, said in September that the company extended its lease in Cincinnati through 2012 in order to give them "more flexibility through this process."
Carl Lindner, former owner, moved Chiquita to Cincinnati from Manhattan in 1987.
Stay with 9 News and WCPO.com for updates on this breaking story.
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