By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor
In February, Kao USA Inc. unveiled its plans to relocate to a new downtown Cincinnati headquarters in order to consolidate its North American operations. On March 28, the leading beauty-care brands manufacturer announced that the company will move from its current facility on Spring Grove Avenue to the 312 Plum St. building.
Constructed in 1988, 312 Plum St. is a 15-story, 232,439-square-foot office building with a 240-space parking garage. Other notable tenants include Harland Financial Solutions Inc. and Standard Insurance Co. Owned by a joint venture between Nashville-based Smith/Hallemann Partners and Harbert Management Corp., the building was acquired together with nearby 312 Elm St. from Duke Realty Corp. in February 2011 for $97 million
Kao USA signed a long-term lease for 55,000 square feet of space, taking the entire 10th and 11th floors as well as a portion of the ninth floor. More than 200 marketing, sales, market research, creative and administrative employees will move to the new building. Scott Abernethy of Cassidy Turley represented the landlord, while Scott Yards of CBRE represented Kao USA.
Bill Gentner, Kao’s president for Consumer Products Americas and EMEA, declared in a press release that ”Kao USA is thrilled about the move to downtown Cincinnati and to a world-class facility.”.He added: “This move demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the Cincinnati area and will support our efforts to retain and attract the high-end talent that we need to compete and grow.”
The move is expected to take place this summer. Kao will also make an important investment in the Spring Grove Avenue facility, where the research-and-development and manufacturing facilities will remain.
Tokyo–based Kao Corp. was founded in 1887. The chemical and cosmetics company expanded into the United States in 1988 by acquiring the Cincinnati-based Andrew Jergens Co. Kao USA Inc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kao Corp.