Port Shorts: Kao USA, Inc. and Powell Valves

The Port’s unique toolkit and expertise in managing complex real estate projects has helped many companies and municipalities throughout Cincinnati and Hamilton County. This area of The Port’s work takes place primarily behind the scenes, but its impact in the form of investment and jobs is felt throughout the region.

A recent public-private collaboration involving two Cincinnati companies with a long history in Camp Washington is a great example of the value of The Port’s project management work.

Kao USA, Inc., a leading beauty care manufacturer, began to evaluate expansion options to reshore product lines. Landlocked in its current location, Kao needed to either coordinate with its long-time neighbor to acquire the space to expand, or look elsewhere, including outside of the City.

“I think the most unique aspect was The Port’s ability to liaise so deeply into a project and essentially facilitate the retention and an entire real estate transaction without having two independent companies transact with each other.” - Melissa Johnson, Executive Vice President - The Port

Kao’s neighbor, Powell Valves, is a manufacturer with a long history in the City, dating back to the mid-19th century. Following conversations with both companies, The Port assisted Powell Valves with acquiring a new headquarters location on Spring Grove Avenue just a few minutes from its current facility. The new site was formerly home to Sara Lee/Kahn’s and was remediated by The Port in 2011.

“The Port is a facilitator of growth and prosperity for the community. And that’s, in our case through business development and business growth but that growth in turn facilitates the City. It’s all one big wheel that everybody is benefitting from.” - Brandy Cowart, Executive Vice President - Powell Valves

With the completion of Powell Valves new headquarters, The Port acquired its former facility and site preparation is now underway for Kao’s expansion.

A truly collaborative effort, The Port, JobsOhio, REDI Cincinnati, the City of Cincinnati, and Hamilton County all worked closely with leadership from both companies to create a customized roadmap and provide financing to fit their needs.

“The Port was really instrumental in the negotiations between the two companies. They helped really start the project and bring the City in at the right time, bring all the different partners in, bring everyone to the table to really help lead us to the finish line.” - Taylor German, Senior Development Officer - City of Cincinnati

The result? 525 jobs retained in Cincinnati with an annual payroll of $51,000,000 and an anticipated 45 new jobs to be created.

“Looking back I think one of the greatest accomplishments for The Port is establishing trust. I think that was absolutely paramount here. There were times when the transaction hit bumps in the road and maybe there was some uncertainty and I think our ability to maintain that trust was the pillar of how this came to fruition for everyone involved.” - Melissa Johnson, Executive Vice President - The Port