In May 2006, United Postal Service (UPS) announced it would expand its main air hub in Louisville, Kentucky. The air hub, a vast sorting complex called Worldport, already employs about 7,500 of 18,000 UPS workers in Louisville. The expansion, which will create Worldport II, is expected to add about 5,000 jobs. Over 1,200 of these jobs will provide full-time employment.
The expansion represents a more than $1 billion investment in the commonwealth of Kentucky. Nearly 1,100,000 square-feet will be added, while another 334,500 square-foot space will be renovated with new technology and equipment. Additionally, several ramps at the Louisville International Airport will be built or altered, bringing a total increase of just over 3,000,000 square feet.
Encouraging UPS to invest in the expansion was a collaborative effort. It involved both the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Greater Louisville, Inc., the city’s chamber of commerce. Crucial support was provided by many government officials, including Governor Ernie Fletcher, Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, and members of the Kentucky General Assembly.
UPS is expected to receive tax benefits up to $31.6 billion over ten years under the Kentucky Jobs Development Act. UPS also anticipates it will qualify to receive up to $20 million in benefits over the next three years under the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act. The program allows approved companies making an investment of $500,000 or more in Kentucky to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on the cost of construction and equipment.
The presence of UPS has helped attract more than 90 companies to either locate or expand their operations in the state over the past five years, investing more than $1.2 billion and bringing in more than 13,300 new jobs. “We view building our communities to be part of building our business,” said Bob Lekites, UPS’s Louisville-based vice president of airline and international operations. “Past public and private partnerships, as well as collaboration with local universities and minority-owned businesses, have been successful, and we look forward to continuing that with this expansion.”