CINCINNATI -- General Electric Co. will bring its payroll and other company functions from around the country to a single site in Cincinnati that will employ at least 1,400 people within three years, officials announced Thursday.
GE selected Cincinnati because it's close to major job centers within the company, including GE Aviation in Evendale and West Chester, GE Lighting in Cleveland and manufacturing plants in Louisville.
Joe Allen, who will manage the new center, made the announcement Thursday with Ohio Governor John Kasich.
"If you think about the GE talent as well as the wealth of talent we have here in the region, it made perfect sense to have the operations (in Cincinnati)," Allen said.
GE Aviation currently employs more than 9,800 people in the state, while GE Lightning has more than 1,800 employees. GE Distributed Power, which is headquartered in Cincinnati, employs more than 200 people. GE Capital has more than 1,500 employees in Kettering and GE Oil & Gas has 220 employees in Twinsburg.
GE spends more than $5.6 billion with suppliers in Ohio, helping to support about 26,000 supplier jobs in the state.
Kasich said it's that relationship -- and an incentive package -- that helped seal the deal.
"With the state getting stronger and stronger, I think (GE leaders) were more and more comfortable being able to consolidate virtually 48 states into our state," Kasich said.
The company, headquartered in Fairfield, Conn., has yet to select a location in the Cincinnati region for the project. Sites in Mason, Norwood and The Banks riverfront development are said to be under consideration.
GE officials said they won't announce that for another few months.
"We want to have an attractive location where you can bring in 1,400 plus people," Allen said. "We want to make sure we have accessibility to parking and we want to have it so it's a cost-competitive situation as well."
GE officials said they will be moving into a temporary office on East Fourth Street in about 90 days. The company is looking at sites in Hamilton County and surrounding areas to house the new workers.
"It's great news for the region," said Michele Blair, economic development director for the city of Mason. It has room for GE in sites along the I-71 corridor near Western Row Road.
"The city of Mason works pretty hard to be attractive to a major corporate investment like this," she added.
Company officials said the average salary of employees at the new center will be about $70,000, creating more opportunity for students at University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, Cincinnati State and other local schools.
"They will be professional jobs," Allen said. "They will be competitive. We're looking at all levels from entry level to mid-career so you'll have a wide variety of pay scale."
Norwood Mayor Tom Williams said there are several sites in his city that could accommodate GE, including the former American Laundry headquarters at 5050 Section Ave. and Central Parke, an office and retail complex on the site of the old General Motors Norwood plant. Central Parke was recently sold to local investors for $34 million.
“There’s more than one location that could make it work,” Williams said. “Whatever it takes, we’ll do it.”
GE is expected to break ground on the new facility in the summer and to be up and running by 2017, according to a JobsOhio press release.
The Cincinnati area center will be one of five the multinational company plans to open across the globe. The company did not indicate the locations of the other four. GE employs 305,000 people worldwide and 15,000 in Ohio.
"The Greater Cincinnati area provides a pool of talent that will help us build a world-class shared services center," Shane Fitzsimons, Senior Vice President of GE Global Operations, said in the release.
Ohio competed with "a number of other locations" in the U.S. for the new center, the release said.
For more on the job opportunities at GE, click here for the company's employment portal.