FRANKLIN, Ind. -- St. Louis-based Energizer Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ENR) is looking to set up packaging and distribution operations in Johnson County. The battery company's subsidiary, Energizer Manufacturing Inc., plans to invest more than $62 million to equip a recently-completed, 933,000-square-foot shell building at Franklin Tech Park and create 440 jobs. The company is requesting a 10-year tax abatement for the project, from which it would save approximately $7.5 million in taxes over the abatement period.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Johnson County Development Corp. Executive Director Dana Monson said having the shell building available was crucial.

"At the end of the day, we know that companies everywhere want to locate in communities that people want to live, so that is obviously something that we all are working very hard toward. But at the same time, we also understand that if we don't have that right product, that right building, that right build-to-suit land, or whatever it is they're looking for, we can't provide their needs," said Monson. "So having a building this size, this available, ready to go was definitely a huge driver for this project. It was a huge reason that they were here looking at what we have and coming to our community and then finding out all of the other advantages that we can provide them to be here was absolutely icing on the cake."

According to documents filed with the city, 413 of the new jobs will come with an average hourly wage of $18.30. The other 27 jobs will be managerial and professional positions with an average wage of $40.80 per hour. The wage figures do not include benefits.

Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett told our partners at the Daily Journal city officials have been meeting with representatives from Energizer for about two months. He says the company initially wanted larger tax breaks, which the city declined. The Franklin City Council is set to vote on an incentive package next week. 

Energizer chose the site near I-65 because of opportunities for future growth, as well as logistical and workforce needs, according to city documents. Monson says the city and county has been working hard to be proactive in community development to attract talent and skill-up existing talent to create a viable workforce.

"To that end, we have been working on the Work Ready Communities program, trying to bring that to Johnson County. We have some goals; we're in the process of working to meet those goals for the county to help our companies have this tool at their disposal to help them find the right person because we know that retention is so important. If they can retain those employees, then they're not spending all that time going through the onboarding and hiring and all of that process. They're focusing on doing what they do best."

The publication says Energizer is committed to being in the city for at least 15 years and nine months.