Akron City Council is poised to pass millions of dollars in tax breaks to retain hundreds of jobs in the region.

The city’s tax incentives offset relocation costs for Babcock & Wilcox to keep the company and its 700 local jobs in Northeast Ohio for the next 15 years or more.

The coal-burning energy company, now based in Barberton, has struggled as electricity generation is increasingly fed by cleaner, cheaper sources like natural gas. Stock in the publicly traded company has tumbled from $12 per share to 31 cents in the past three years.

In September, B&W went public with plans to relocate its North Carolina headquarters to Barberton then from Barberton to Akron later this year, along with 600 workers in Barberton and 100 in Copley. The move to the East End includes cost-saving consolidation and other efficiencies aimed at strengthening B&W’s financial position. Earlier this month, the coal power plant company with annual revenues of about $1 billion announced new financing to avoid bankruptcy, which resulted in only a blip in the company’s stock price.

The tax breaks mulled by Akron City Council Monday are geared toward renovating space at the East End and are expected to pass next week. In December, Akron City Council approved a $3.6 million income tax break for B&W over the next seven years. Another $2 million in income taxes will be shared with Barberton, which is losing a significant portion of its income tax base with the loss of the company.

Council’s planning committee, which is chaired by At-Large Councilman Jeff Fusco, gave initial approval Monday for a 30-year, 100 percent tax abatement for $18 million of the estimated $30 million in estimated construction costs to prepare the East End for B&W.

“This basically starts the clock on the (tax incremental financing),” Fusco said of the deal for Industrial Realty Group, which has been redeveloping the East End since 2014.

The deal is projected to divert $6.7 million in property tax revenue to a special city fund. The school district will get its share. A portion will be used to cover surrounding public projects, like the renovation of Market Street through the East End.

“Everything that doesn’t stay with the city goes to IRG,” said city spokeswoman Ellen Lander Nischt, who said the lion’s share of the $6.7 million would go to the developer.

Earlier this month in its annual financial statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, B&W said it would pay $55 million minimum over the next 15 years to lease the newly renovated space at the East End, after which there’s an option to renew that lease for another 40 to 50 years.

In that financial filing, the company said, “We do not expect to incur significant relocation costs.”

Carol Smith, senior vice president and director of development services at IRG, said the renovation of the East End is “right on target. We're not expecting any delays.”

The project should be done by Oct. 31, if not earlier, she said. Historic replacement windows have been ordered. B&W could be in by the end of the year.

With roof work, interior renovations and asbestos abatement underway, Smith said the overall project should cost $30 million. The tax-abated $18 million portion includes some of the office space but mostly the demolition of old steam stacks to provide more parking and re-feeding electrical lines.