Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. moving into new Findlay offices

| Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010

Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. will start moving Friday into the company's new $150 million headquarters in Findlay.

The retailer is moving to a leased building on the northwest side of Pittsburgh International Airport. The building is more than three times the size of its offices on Industry Drive in Findlay.

The new site features a waterfall-like fountain and a large sports complex.

The new Dick's corporate center stands seven stories tall at its highest point, with 675,000 square feet of space, officials said. There's a separate, 60,000-square-foot aviation center to accommodate five corporate aircraft.

"Our plan is to move in over the next month or so and get adjusted to the space," spokesman Jeff Hennion said, declining a request to tour the building.

The first wave of Dick's employees will arrive at the complex Friday, said Rod Piatt, president of developer Horizon Properties Group LLC of Cecil, Washington County.

The center sits on 116 acres owned by Allegheny County Airport Authority. Horizon Properties leases the land from the county. Private financing paid for most of the construction.

Findlay Building Inspector Russ Collins said about 1,200 Dick's employees will occupy the headquarters initially — with a couple hundred at a time moving in over the next six weeks.

Here are some of the building's highlights:

• A three-story-high great hall with a glass front.

• An interior fountain that sends water to an outdoor pond under an elevated patio, then to three other pools. Rainwater is collected in the system, which has the effect of a waterfall that flows into the woods below.

• A fitness center with a full-sized gym and a running track that overlooks the basketball court, from an upper level. Racquetball courts are at both ends of the gym. Outside, there are soccer and baseball fields, and tennis and basketball courts, said Mike Swisher, a partner in Horizon.

• An employee cafe has distinct food-service areas, much like a mall food court, Collins said, and an auditorium will seat around 250 people.

The center is the first phase of what eventually could be a 2 million-square-foot complex for the growing retailer, Downtown-based architectural firm Strada LLC said on its Web site.

Dick's reported a third-quarter profit of $18.9 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of almost $990 million. Full-year sales for 2008 were $4.13 billion.

Although Pennsylvania officials at one point promised $10.85 million toward the expansion, state grants amounted to around $9 million, Swisher said.

Allegheny County, Findlay Township and the West Allegheny School District granted Horizon Properties and Dick's a 50 percent break on property taxes for 10 years.

The school district will collect about $1.14 million a year, said Jerry Wessel, business manager. The district capped its discount at $630,000, meaning without it, Dick's would pay $1.77 million, he said.

The school district collects almost $535,000 a year in taxes on the Dick's present offices, Wessel said.

Dick's also received some public funding and tax incentives for its prior moves -- including a $1 million Allegheny County grant for its first headquarters along Industry Drive in Findlay.

The Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County now owns that building, and Comcast Corp. and TRG Customer Solutions are primary tenants.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. bought the Industry Drive building that Dick's is leaving. Thermo Fisher will move about 1,000 employees with its laboratory-catalog business there in mid-2011, spokesman Ron O'Brien said. The business now is in a leased building off Park Lane in North Fayette.

Dick's has a 25-year initial lease for its headquarters, the company said in securities filings. The company will pay $12.1 million in rent a year through 2013, with later payments totaling $272.5 million through 2035.

Horizon Properties, in turn, will pay the airport authority $5 million over the first 10 years to lease the land, authority spokesman Jeff Martinelli said. Landing fees based on aircraft weight also must be paid.

"We continue to grow as a company," Hennion said, "and we expect that growth to continue over time as we expand our number of stores and the operations of Golf Galaxy (acquired in 2007) and all of our e-commerce operations." He wouldn't estimate how the headquarters staff might expand.

Findlay Manager Gary Klingman said the company's new base along an airport runway allows corporate officials to fly in and out quickly using five jets. That's bound to be important, he said, as Dick's opens more West Coast stores.

Dick's has proven itself to be aggressive in its field.

"You can't knock sporting goods. Everybody buys them, to some extent," Klingman said.

Additional Information:

Dick's Sporting Goods local history

• 1994: Moved from Binghamton, N.Y., to offices in Moon. The chain had 12 stores.

• 1999: Moved to a leased, 67,000-square-foot building in Findlay that the Regional Industrial Development Corp. built for $7.4 million.

• 2004: Moved to its present 200,000-square-foot headquarters adjacent to the previous site. Dick's leases the space from USAA Real Estate Co. of San Antonio.

• January 2010: Preparing to move to a $150 million, leased, corporate center in Findlay built by Horizon Properties Group LLC. Co. that now operates 420 Dick's and 91 Golf Galaxy stores, as well as an e-commerce business.

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