FRANKFORT, Ky. — Zeiss Vision Care cuts ribbon for the company’s new U.S. headquarters in Hebron. The grand opening caps off a multi-year, $20 million construction project at Zeiss’ existing Hebron facility, which will create about 75 full-time jobs.
The $20 million expansion primarily involved updates to the company’s state-of-the-art optical laboratory, which uses automation, robotics and big-data machine learning to produce lenses as quickly and with as little manual intervention as possible. The upgrades also allowed the lab to become completely paperless, making the company’s production processes more sustainable.
The company began upgrading its Kentucky optical lab in 2016. In addition to its advanced manufacturing component, the facility also houses the company’s national customer service team and continues serving as Zeiss’ North American distribution center, benefiting from Kentucky’s ideal geographic location within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population.
Moving Zeiss Vision Care headquarters from San Diego, California, to Hebron, centralizes the company’s operations with its main U.S. optical laboratory. The additional 75 jobs will expand Zeiss’ existing workforce of nearly 400 employees and include positions such as lab technicians, customer service agents and warehouse clerks.
Located at 1040 Worldwide Blvd. in Hebron, Zeiss’ Kentucky facility opened in 2001 and has experienced significant growth in recent years. During the past five years, the company more than tripled its employment at the facility.
Additionally, company leaders recently unveiled a new, 2,500-square-foot showroom and optical store concept at its Hebron location. The showroom, open to eye care professionals, will serve as a replica of a Zeiss Vision Center, including the company’s diagnostic equipment and consumer optical products. The 200-plus Zeiss Vision Center stores worldwide – each owned and operated by independent practitioners – offer eye exams, lens consultation and frame selection for patients.
Zeiss Vision Care is a division of Germany-based Zeiss Group, a technology company that produces and distributes optical products such as semiconductor manufacturing technology, medical technology, microscopy devices and camera lenses, in addition to its vision care segment.
To encourage Zeiss’ construction of its lab and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in 2018 granted final approval of a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $2 million in tax incentives based on the company’s eligible investment of $10 million and targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 190 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $19.77 including benefits across those jobs.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
Additionally, in 2016, KEDFA approved Zeiss for up to $100,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
For more information on Zeiss Vision Care, visit zeiss.com/vision-care.
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