International Paper leaving Memphis? - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

International Paper leaving Memphis?

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

In a statement to Fox13, International Paper says they are looking to expand. They did not say if they will do so at their current headquarters on Poplar.

Keeping the company local could take unprecedented incentives offered by Memphis and Shelby County. But, Memphis and Shelby County need the state's help to entice International Paper to stay.

A source close to the negotiations tells Fox13 that IP is asking for a tax break worth nearly $100,000,000. But the source says, over the course of the deal, Memphis and Shelby County would see a return on investment of more than $400,000,000.

International Paper recently purchased a company out of Austin, Texas and is considering moving that company to Memphis.

A spokesperson for International Paper said in a statement, "In an effort to meet current and future office space needs for its global headquarters, International Paper is evaluating options for additional space."

The source says IP is considering three options: adding another tower to the current facility on poplar, using land for a new facility, or moving out of town.

The source says the State of Mississippi is now jumping in to offer incentives.

And, in its statement, International Paper made it clear Memphis is not a shoe-in for continued growth for the company, saying, "We are not ready to go into detail about the evaluation process at this time, nor what those options are.  We can say that this is a necessary and important step as we plan for International paper's future."

International Paper employs about 2,000 people, so getting the company to stay in Memphis and expand is a top priority for city and county officials.

In a joint statement, the mayors of Memphis and Shelby county say, "We take the position that we must do whatever we can reasonably do to retain this company in Memphis and Shelby County as a strong local partner in our business landscape."

But, the local governing bodies cannot approve this deal on their own. The state needs to approve any incentive deal over 20 years. The company also did not indicate a timeline on any decision making process.

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