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Urban Outfitters expansion to create 2,500 jobs, receive tax breaks

Urban Outfitters will create 2,500 jobs by expanding in the Navy Yard and Lancaster, but protesters criticized tax breaks the developments will receive.

urban outfitters Urban Outfitters' Philadelphia Navy Yard headquarters.
Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley was in Philadelphia Monday to officially announce two major expansions of Urban Outfitters at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and in Lancaster County.

Cawley said during the 2013 International Economic Development Council Conference at the Downtown Marriott that Urban Outfitters plans to invest more than $200 million in the expansion of its Navy Yard headquarters, as well as in the construction of an East Coast direct-to-consumer fulfillment center in Gap, Pa.

The move is expected to create at least 2,500 jobs upon completion – 2,000 in Philadelphia and 500 in Lancaster County.

"This expansion is proof that the best way to spur new job growth is to work with local leaders and businesses," Cawley said in a statement.

"Governor Corbett and I appreciate our partnership with the county, city and local governments in Philadelphia and Lancaster counties to create opportunity for Pennsylvanians."

Urban Outfitters will be eligible to receive Keystone Opportunity Zone benefits at both sites for 10 years, greatly reducing or eliminating state and local taxes for the developments.

"Our company has had a history of success in Pennsylvania and these projects will provide the additional infrastructure necessary to achieve our corporate growth objectives for years to come," Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne said in a statement.

Not everyone was as pleased to hear of the 10 years of tax breaks being afforded to the company.

Activists with Fight for Philly and the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools protested Cawley's appearance, noting he and Gov. Tom Corbett have since 2011 expanded tax breaks for corporations while cutting $1 billion from education statewide.

"Corbett is demanding concessions from the teachers union and unspecific 'reform' before agreeing to provide more money for students," PCAPS said in a release.

"But he continues to offer tax breaks and support to his corporate friends at companies like Urban Outfitters. Richard Hayne, Urban Outfitters’ CEO, is a Republican billionaire who has given thousands of dollars to Rick Santorum’s campaigns."

The protesters demanded the Corbett administration fully fund Philadelphia schools before lowering taxes for what they described as "big business."

 
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