When the Greencastle Redevelopment Commission gave approval for an economic revitalization area for FB Distor/Ascena Retail Group Inc. last week, they were assured it was "good news," they just did not know what that good news was.  The picture became a bit clearer at Tuesday's Greencastle City Council meeting. Before the council gave approval to the same resolution, they learned a bit more about Ascena's plans for the facility at 1901 E. State Road 240.

Although the situation is still developing, Ascena will use the 794,000-square-foot facility as a fulfillment center for e-commerce. The use of the location as hub for the company's online sales will mean an almost complete retooling, resulting in an investment of up to $34 million and the addition of 242 new jobs by the end of the decade.

Since the June announcement of a merger between Ascena Group and Charming Shoppes, FB Distro's parent company, "a lot of people were holding their breath" Senior Vice President Tom Moran told the council.  That breath holding seems to have come to a happy ending with the announcement.

The approval is the final step in a revised tax abatement for the new company on the same property. The revision is necessary not only because of the renamed company, but also because of the larger investment Ascena is making.

In March, Gov. Mitch Daniels was present on the city's east side for the announcement of a plan to expand the facility and add 135 new jobs by 2014.

While the exact details of the expansion and job additions remain in talks, city officials welcomed Tuesday's news and the job security it means for current employees.

"The great news is that there are 242 new jobs," Councilman T.J. Smith said. "The really great news is there are 180 people there who should be able to meet their retirement dates right here in Putnam County."

More information will be available in Thursday's Banner Graphic.