A new tenant in Covington's RiverCenter towers will occupy 22,200 square feet and add 180 jobs to the local economy by 2016, it was announced Tuesday night at the Covington City Commission meeting.
dbaDirect, a provider of IT Infrastructure management services to the financial services, retail, healthcare and education industries, won approval from the City for a combination of incentives that include a 1.25% rebate on its payroll tax. The City also approved an agreement for 75 parking spaces at the city-owned RiverCenter parking garage that will afford the company sevety-five spaces for eight years at a monthly cost of $25 per space.
The project includes the company’s 73 existing employees with plans to add approximately 110 new high-tech jobs by 2016.
"We're hoping to add more knowledge-based jobs in Covington," said Naashom Marx, Covington's business development manager. "These guys definitely think for a living. They are a great addition. I am very excited."
Ken Roth, dbaDirect's chief operating officer, said the company looked at placing its headquarters in Cincinnati, Newport, Florence (where its North American headquarters are currently based), and others before deciding on Northern Kentucky's largest city. "We were impressed by the professional manner in which Covington talked to us," he said. "It was far above the other municipalities." Roth gave specific credit to Marx and former Mayor Chuck Scheper for handling the deal on the city's side.
dbaDIRECT serves over 180 clients across 254 data centers over four continents throughout the world. The work is coordinated at dbaDIRECT’s global operations center located in Northern Kentucky with additional locations in Bangalore, India; Shenzhen, China and West Chester, OH.
Roth also cited UpTech's recent move to the city, the planned expansion of Gateway Community & Technical College's urban campus, and the widening of Martin Luther King Boulevard as key factors in the company's decision to locate in Covington.
"We're excited to start our next phase of growth in the Covington community," Roth said.
Mayor Sherry Carran welcomed the company to town with enthusiasm. "Thank you for doing your research and picking up on the little details that make Covington special," Carran said. "We're glad you see it, too."
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear also offered praise in a statement.
“dbaDIRECT represents the growing technology segment of the Commonwealth’s economy,” Beshear said. “With plans to add up to 110 high-tech jobs in the coming years, this is a great opportunity in Northern Kentucky, where companies have access to an outstanding workforce, strategic location and an ideal business climate.”
dbaDirect's CEO also weighed in with a statement. “Our company stands at the precipice of enhanced growth in the data management industry and the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Northern Kentucky has been a partner and supporter of dbaDIRECT since its inception in 1998,” said John Bostick, President and CEO of dbaDIRECT. “We are looking to grow and add to the appeal of Northern Kentucky as an informatics hub. We are excited to be in Covington’s urban core with other high-tech companies at RiverCenter and we value our strengthening relationships with Northern Kentucky University’s College of Informatics.”
"You won't find a better, more progressive thought-based company," said Casey Barach of the Northern Kentucky e-zone and the Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (Tri-Ed), at Covington City Hall on Tuesday night. "They will be a shining star here."
Tri-Ed's chairman and Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore congratulated the company in a statement.
“We congratulate dbaDIRECT on its success and growth from its start in the Northern Kentucky ezone,” said Moore. “The informatics sector is a target industry as we continue to market Northern Kentucky on a national and global scale. This company’s success is a testimony to its continued persistence in an extremely competitive global economy and Northern Kentucky’s positive business environment.”
“Kenton County is very pleased to welcome the expansion and growth of dbaDIRECT,” said Kenton County Judge-Executive SteveArlinghaus in a statement. “Retaining and expanding a key business like dbaDIRECT in Northern Kentucky is instrumental in our efforts to enhance our informatics sector.”
After making headlines two years ago about companies vacating RiverCenter Boulevard, notably Omnicare and The Nielsen Company and their hundreds of jobs, the block is making a rebound with dbaDirect and other companies like Tier One Performance Solutions.
Covington's momentum over the past two years is evidenced by developments such as bioLOGIC, the life science biotech incubator that expanded its size to accommodate the need for lab space for life science companies on Russell Street, the $25 million boutique Hotel Covington set to open in 2015 on Madison Avenue, Gateway College's expansion that has already included the purchase of nine Downtown buildings, the Catalytic Development Fund and its $10 million to invest in urban development projects that will stimulate further economic growth, as well as large-scale projects in their early stages such as the Licking River Greenway & Trails and the planned Riverfront Commons.
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News