First Financial keeping headquarters downtown

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati-based First Financial Bancorp announced Thursday that it is keeping its headquarters in downtown Cincinnati.

In 2009, the company announced temporary plans to move its headquarters from Hamilton to downtown Cincinnati, and CEO Claude Davis said the decision was made to stay.

"It is the ideal location for First Financial as we continue our strategic growth and expansion plans as we look forward to establishing additional jobs here in Cincinnati," said Davis.

Pending city council approval, First Financial will enter a 12-year agreement with the city, brining 150 jobs to the central business district. Davis said the company is in the process of finalizing a long term lease. Currently, they are located in the Atrium One building at Fourth and Main.

"First Financial is a great addition to the Downtown Cincinnati business community," said Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory. "Cincinnati continues to be a top choice of businesses looking to grow and expand. We are going to continue to be aggressive in attracting new businesses to join our community."

The city is offering First Financial a Property Investment Reimbursement Agreement equivalent to 75 percent of the individual earnings tax generated by the new employees and a $774,450 capital grant if the company makes capital investments of not less than $4 million in facility within the city limits to assist in relocation costs. First Financial must maintain those 150 job levels and payroll for three years beyond the incentive term. These terms are pending council approval.

First Financial, with roots going back to 1863 in Butler County, is now one of the Tri-State's largest banks with 108 branches, most of those in Southwest Ohio and more of them in Northern Kentucky, Southeast Indiana, the Miami Valley, and Central Ohio.

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