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Deal to bring 500 jobs nixed

A proposed a $8.6 million new call center that would employ hundreds of local workers is off.

Miami Twp. has withdrawn its application for $500,000 in Montgomery County development funds to help land a large new call center.

Direct Energy Home Services was considering expanding its presence in the township and employing more than 500 people, the city said in an application for county money submitted earlier this month.

The bid for funds was withdrawn “per a request from the company,” said an email from a staffer who helps administer the county ED/GE (Economic Development/Government Equity) program.

The township wanted the funds to help persuade the Houston-based company to build the call center, the application said. Miami Twp. was competing with other U.S. cities, including Columbus, Houston and Indianapolis, according to the application publicly released on April 1..

Direct Energy Home Services was to have used the money to help build a 66,000-square-foot call center, the township said in its ED/GE funds application.

Some 550 new call center jobs were at stake, with 60 existing corporate jobs at its Miami Twp. offices already in place being protected, the township said in the application. It was not clear Monday what would happen with existing Direct Energy jobs.

A new building for the business was to be located on Market Place Drive, off Ohio 741, at The Exchange at Spring Valley, according to a map with the township’s application.

A Direct Energy spokesman, in an email, said, “While we are in the process of evaluating our options, Direct Energy is withdrawing our ED/GE grant application so the funding can be applied to projects in the Dayton area which are ready to proceed.”

Greg Rodgers, township administrator, said the company asked the township to pull the application and did not explain to the township why. Asked whether the proposal may be revisited in the future, he said he hopes so.

Direct Energy spokesman Micah Hirshfield declined to comment on the 60 or so company jobs currently in the township and whether they would be impacted by the withdrawn application.

County leaders will still consider 11 proposed projects — business expansions or relocations — seeking a total of more than $2.2 million in county development help. Among the bids for county funds: Dayton seeks $500,000 to build a 6,500-square-foot facility, and prepare for a new 69,000-square-foot hangar, at Dayton International Airport for PSA Airlines. That project would retain nearly 450 jobs and create 42 new jobs in the next three years, the city says.

Also, the city of Kettering seeks $50,000 to help Lunarline Inc. establish an “advanced cyber security operations center” and a “cyber-security training center of excellence” in an existing building at the Miami Valley Research Park on Founders Drive.. The company would create 30 jobs, at an average annual salary of $75,000.

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