Covington Lands Growing Company's Headquarters & 500+ Jobs
A project that involved the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the City of Covington will bring more than 500 jobs to RiverCenter, improving one of the tower's occupancy rates to 88 percent, and marking the strongest return of the riverfront's business attraction since the 2011 departure of Omnicare.
CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services, a global, privately-held company that provides therapeutic expertise to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, will relocate to Covington and make a $36.4 million investment that will ultimately lead to the creation of up to 500 Kentucky-resident jobs. The firm, which currently operates in the northern Cincinnati suburb of Blue Ash, will occupy seven floors at RiverCenter II.
“We are grateful for the decision by CTI to move its headquarters to Northern Kentucky and bring with them hundreds of highly skilled jobs,” said Gov. Matt Bevin in a news release. “Our administration and local officials are committed to providing the space and resources needed for CTI to continue its growth in the years ahead. CTI is a recognized leader in the life sciences industry and we are delighted to welcome them to Kentucky.”
“We’re thrilled for CTI to be starting a new chapter at RiverCenter,” said Timothy Schroeder, CEO of CTI, in a statement. “We feel that this location will be a state-of-the-art headquarters for our staff, enabling collaboration and innovation. This site allows us to retain and grow the most talented team in the industry who are helping to develop some of the most innovative life-changing therapies.”
The planned redevelopment of the RiverCenter plaza, first announced and reported by The River City News in March, was a major factor in CTI's decision to take up 125,000 sq. ft. in the tower. So, too, was the Riverfront Commons project and the City of Covington's forthcoming redevelopment plans to make the riverfront more attractive and useful to visitors and residents. "Talent attraction and retention is the company's number one issue," said attorney Jim McGraw of Keating Muuething & Klekamp, who helped on the deal. Bringing the company's operations right into the region's urban core opens up a new playground for the sought-after employees.
The news about CTI's follows The River City News' report that ClubEssential may also be moving its headquarters from Cincinnati to RiverCenter, a move that would bring 40 additional employees to the riverfront.
CTI considered other locations in the Greater Cincinnati area, but ultimately selected Covington, welcomed news for city officials.
“We are thrilled over CTI’s announcement to locate its global headquarter operations to Covington. The collaboration between our three counties and the positive energy between our River Cities around the Riverfront Commons Project highlighted a welcoming environment that appealed to CTI, a company that values community," said Mayor Sherry Carran. "Covington’s plans to improve our riverfront also enhanced the desirability of our location and of the RiverCenter, and it will be a great amenity for the employees of CTI.”
“We are delighted to be locating our growing company’s headquarters to Covington, Kentucky. Our organization was amazed by the enthusiasm that Mayor Sherry Carran and her team exhibited throughout the process," said CEO Tim Schroeder.
“We are looking forward to quickly becoming integrated into the community and making CTI a well-known and well respected partner. The local amenities including RiverCenter, the NKY Convention Center, and the Riverfront Commons will be important attributes in our retention and recruitment of CTI team members. It is a transformative time in the company’s history and we will look back positively on this decision and its impact on the company’s ability to continue to move life-changing therapies to patients around the world.”
Bill Butler, chairman of Corporex, which developed and operates RiverCenter, also welcomed his new neighbors. "We appreciate the opportunity to partner in support of Mr. Schroeder's very dynamic company. CTI's move to the urban core follows a national trend and will be a benefit to the entire community.”
Founded in 1999 by Schroeder and Lynn Fallon, CTI is a global leader in clinical research, working with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to plan, manage and analyze clinical trials, a critical step in bringing new drugs, therapies and medical devices to market. The company is therapeutically focused on critically ill patient populations, chronic diseases and unmet medical needs including the areas of regenerative medicine, cell and gene therapy, rare disease, immunology, transplantation and oncology.
CTI has associates in more than 25 countries and has worked on over 2,700 projects across six continents. CTI has contributed to more than 100 new drug and device approvals by regulatory agencies around the world.
During a special meeting Wednesday, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved CTI for tax incentives up to $14 million based on its investment of $36.4 million and hiring up to 500 Kentucky residents. The jobs would be added over the agreement’s 10-year span at an average of $40 per hour including benefits.
The incentive agreement is through the Kentucky Business Investment (KBI) program, a performance-based incentive. Through KBI, a company can keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
Additionally, CTI can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 5,600 Kentucky companies.
The Northern Kentucky Convention Center also played a significant role in bringing CTI to Covington, as a portion of the facility will be repurposed to facilitate a large classroom-type area that will allow students and employees to communicate and participate globally, as well as to host training programs. The new facility, managed by the convention center, will be known as the Northern Kentucky Life Sciences Training Center.
Bexion Pharmaceuticals, located in Covington, was enthusiastic to learn CTI would be joining the Northern Kentucky life science community. CEO Dr. Ray Takigiku said, “Bexion is very excited to have a stellar organization like CTI join our life science community in Northern Kentucky. CTI’s veteran drug and medical device experts, and their growing global presence will accelerate the burgeoning entrepreneurial renaissance occurring in Covington, and will directly benefit our mission against cancer.”
Northern Kentucky University plans on partnering to offer training initiatives for future CTI employees.
“We very much look forward to the collaboration between NKU and CTI to promote the life-sciences industry and talent pipeline that we are building here,” said NKU President Geoff Mearns.
Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann said by growing and thriving, CTI will help attract other companies in target industries to Northern Kentucky.
“Kenton County is a natural location for emerging companies and talented people in the tech and knowledge-based fields,” Knochelmann said. “CTI is exactly the type of innovative and forward-looking company we want in our region, and their focus on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries makes them a great addition to our business community.”
Northern Kentucky Tri-ED Board Chair and Campbell County Judge/Executive Steve Pendery cited teamwork and cooperation between multiple partners as essential in the process.
“CTI’s choice to locate their headquarters in Covington is a boon for our entire region,” Pendery said. “The collaborative team spirit in Northern Kentucky that was vital in bringing the company to Covington will carry forward and be instrumental in CTI’s success and job growth into the future.”
Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill) said the company’s relocation and employment growth will serve Northern Kentucky well in the coming years.
“This company’s relocation from Blue Ash to Covington is yet another example of Kentucky’s business-friendly atmosphere and opportunities for economic growth,” he said. “I am excited to welcome CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services to Covington and I look forward to their future endeavors in our region.”
Rep. Arnold Simpson (D-Covington) said the location of CTI is evidence of the region’s ability to support large-scale business growth.
“This is great news for Northern Kentucky,” Rep. Simpson said. “We are encouraged by CTI’s confidence in the Commonwealth with this significant investment and trust that other corporate leaders will take note. I want to thank CTI for making this decision and bringing these jobs here. We look forward to making their employees feel right at home in Covington.”
Rep. Addia Wuchner (R-Florence) chairwoman of the Northern Kentucky Legislative Caucus, said CTI’s move will advance the area’s biomedical industry.
“On behalf of the Northern Kentucky Legislative Caucus, we extend a warm welcome to CTI,” Rep. Wuchner said. “We look forward to a surge in the life sciences industry in our region with CTI's leadership.”
CTI's announcement is another boon ro a resurgent downtown Covington and Catalytic Fund president & CEO Jeanne Schroer celebrated the news, too. “The Catalytic Fund is thrilled to welcome this exceptional and innovative company to our Northern Kentucky community. Our local and regional public and private sector entities work together every day to invest in assets such as quality housing, an inviting public realm, solid infrastructure, and excellent commercial spaces to support our corporate citizens’ success and growth.
“This public/private dedication to building community as well as Northern Kentucky’s excellent real estate fundamentals and exciting and diverse urban core make the area an outstanding place for businesses to thrive. We are honored to have CTI join us here.”
CTI is expected to begin its move to RiverCenter in November.
-Michael Monks, editor & publisher