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P&G to build $300M beauty research center in Mason

Consumer goods giant The Procter & Gamble Co. plans to build a new $300 million Beauty Innovation Center in Mason, and relocate approximately 1,150 research and development staff from Blue Ash to Warren County as part of the project, the city and company jointly announced Tuesday.

The new research center will be built on Procter & Gamble’s existing 240-acre campus in Mason along Mason-Montgomery Road.

Cincinnati-based P&G, the maker of household name brands such as Crest toothpaste, Pantene shampoo, and Olay skin care, among others, is already Mason’s largest employer, said Michele Blair, the city’s economic development director.

“This will seal their position as the largest employer in Warren County,” Blair said.

Currently, P&G has approximately 2,600 employees in Mason including contractors, said Bryan McCleary, company spokesman.

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“This is truly a regional impact,” said Mason Mayor David Nichols, who noted quality of life, a location between Interstates 71 and 75, road improvements, financial incentives and the school district as selling points for attracting companies to his jurisdiction.

“The R&D is the future of your company,” Nichols said, and the type of company Mason seeks to attract, he said.

That’s because the investment could add about 1,150 high-paying jobs to the city’s income tax revenue rolls, in addition to 200 more contractors that are part of the move from neighboring Hamilton County for a total 1,350 workers, according to the city.

Construction on 500,000 square feet for the center — a mix of building renovations and new floorspace — could start as early as summer, McCleary said. Employees are expected to make the move in 2018 and 2019.

P&G will empty the Blue Ash location and work with Blue Ash to sell the property, McCleary said.

“Both sites had benefits,” he said. “It was a difficult decision, but we felt like with what we were trying to do for the business, establishing a center in Mason, was the best choice.”

Mason is offering a financial incentive package that includes property tax abatements, a capital lease and grant, but city official say benefits were only extended in the case P&G was unable to grow in Blue Ash.

While the loss of a longtime company is disappointing, Blue Ash city officials say they’re optimistic about the development opportunity the move brings.

The P&G offices sit on prime Blue Ash real estate.

“The city will work with P&G to make the Sharon Woods facility available as quickly as possible for new businesses and employees in the City of Blue Ash. This prime location encompasses approximately 100 acres and 1,000 feet fronting on Reed Hartman Highway, one of the most attractive business addresses in the region,” said Emily Schaffer, city spokeswoman, in a written statement.

Once the new Mason facility is complete, researchers and scientists from P&G’s beauty division, which includes hair care and skin care products, will work alongside researchers and staff of the Fortune 100 company’s personal and oral health care divisions. The Mason Business Center today contains the research, development and marketing activities of personal care products such as Vicks, Pepto-Bismol, NyQuil and DayQuil, and oral care products such as Crest, McCleary said.

“There’s two different campuses at the Sharon Woods facility (in Blue Ash) so there’s kind of a separation of groups. This will bring all of the beauty technical community under one roof,” McCleary said.

“We also see some benefit from having a technical center that houses both our beauty care and health care groups under one roof,” he said.

Meanwhile, P&G is in the process of slimming its portfolio to 65 major brand products. Doing so means selling or discontinuing about 100 brands, McCleary said. Deals were announced last year to sell the IAMs and Duracell business lines, for example. In fact, the pet care division previously had functions in Mason and those office halls will be part of renovations.

Building a new beauty research center is “mainly focused on insuring that we have great innovation and that we’re able to have facilities that will allow us to develop new products, interact with consumers and really drive the beauty business going forward,” he said.

P&G’s Mason investment builds on the growing bioscience industry cluster in the city, Nichols said. Other biohealth-related companies include mental health hospital Lindner Center of HOPE; AtriCure Inc., a medical device manufacturer that is building a new headquarters on Innovation Way; and Assurex Health, which develops personalized medicines, and announced in January plans to build a new and bigger headquarters facility and clinical laboratory in Mason.

Worldwide, P&G has about 118,000 employees including 11,000 in Greater Cincinnati, McCleary said.

Also in northern Cincinnati, P&G operates the Beckett Ridge Technical Center in West Chester Twp., which conducts corporate-wide research and development, he said.

iMFLUX, a subsidiary of P&G that manufactures plastic packaging products, opened a Hamilton manufacturing site in 2013.

Additionally, P&G opened last year a new multi-brand distribution center near Dayton International Airport in Montgomery County as part of plans to reorganize its supply chain.

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