By Tom Davidson
Herald Staff Writer
SHENANGO VALLEY —
The developer of a Kohl’s department store required a sort of public goodwill when it lobbied for a tax incremental financing plan that went through despite some opposition from officials that played out publicly in a saga that continued throughout last year.
This weekend, the interview process by which about 105 of the promised jobs the store will bring played out in private, with those involved in a job fair that continues through Wednesday declining all comments and punting further inquiries to telephone numbers that weren’t working Sunday.
The fair is being held at Park Inn by Radisson, Shenango Township, and about 50 people were seen when it started at 10:45 a.m. Saturday. The Herald wasn’t permitted to talk with applicants or Kohl’s officials. There were a handful of applicants at about 5 p.m. Sunday and they appeared to be filling out paperwork. A person working to register applicants said interviews were being conducted hourly, but she wasn’t permitted to talk about the turnout for the fair.
A number she provided to Kohl’s corporate offices in Memomonee Falls, Wis., wasn’t working Sunday, and a number that another worker provided also wasn’t in service.
Construction for the store, located along the Shenango Valley Freeway and South Hermitage Road, is progressing with a scheduled opening in March.
Kohl’s said it will be hiring for register operators, department associates, customer service associates, earning morning freight unloaders and evening display associates.
Applicants are asked to visit www.kohlscareers.com or call 877-639-5645 to schedule an interview and for further information.
The job fair continues on the following dates and time:
• Monday -- 11:45 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
• Tuesday -- 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Wednesday -- 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The store is part of a $17.6 million development undertaken by Levey & Co., Akron, in a process that was controversial at times because of the tax incremental financing (TIF) plan Levey required to seal the deal.
The developer said the costs of making public improvements for the development – most notably, widening the freeway between Dutch Lane/Maple Drive and South Hermitage Road and installing a traffic signal serving its development and the Glimcher development across the freeway -- was prohibitively expensive, and asked for the TIF.
Mercer County, Hermitage commissioners and Hermitage School Board agreed to divert 69 percent of new property taxes generated by the development for 20 years to pay off a loan Mercer County Industrial Development Authority plans to take out on behalf of Levey.
Levey would make its property tax payments, but the taxing bodies would send 69 percent of the proceeds to pay off the loan.
Aside from Kohl's, Levey was supposed to lease property to Darden Restaurants for an Olive Garden -- a deal that fell through recently -- and has two other outparcels and a retail shops building that will be attached to Kohl's available for lease. Levey also is negotiating to buy the neighboring former McDonald’s property.
Kohl’s operates 1,146 stores in 49 states and offers such items as clothing, shoes, beauty and home products.