Goshen News, Goshen, IN

December 9, 2012

4 plants, 400 new local jobs

By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS

— GOSHEN — Elkhart County Council members Saturday granted a tax phase-in agreement for one company and initial approval of three other phase-ins with the potential to bring as many as 400 new jobs to the area.

Fortress Technologies LLC

First to be approved Saturday was a final, confirmatory resolution supporting a seven-year tax phase-in for Fortress Technologies LLC, an RV parts manufacturer, which plans to convert the old Pilgrim Plant along U.S. 20 in Middlebury into a full frame RV chassis manufacturing plant.

Through the new project, the company has indicated plans to invest over $6.5 million in new machinery and equipment at the plant. The project would also reportedly involve the hire of approximately 266 new employees over the course of the next four years for an annual payroll of nearly $10.5 million.

In order to qualify for the tax phase-in agreement, Fortress Technologies has agreed that it will stay in operation at its Middlebury location for no less than 11 years. Should the company fail to meet its obligations under the phase-in agreement, Fortress Technologies would be forced to repay the county a prorated portion of the total real estate and personal property taxes saved as a result of the tax phase-in agreement.

Indiana Galvanizing LLC

Next to be approved was an initial, declaratory resolution supporting a seven-year tax phase-in for Indiana Galvanizing LLC, a steel galvanizing company located at 51700 Lovejoy Drive, Middlebury.

Through the proposed expansion project, the company has indicated plans to invest $500,000 in the redevelopment of the related property as well as $500,000 in new manufacturing equipment and $10,000 in new information technology equipment.

In addition, the project also involves the potential for up to 60 new full-time positions for an annual payroll of nearly $2.25 million.

In order to qualify for the tax phase-in agreement, Indiana Galvanizing has agreed to stay in operation at its Middlebury location for no less than nine years.

Smart Cabinet LLC

Also approved was a declaratory resolution supporting a tax phase-in agreement with Smart Cabinet LLC, a cabinet construction company with a proposed facility to be located at 72104 C.R. 23, New Paris.

According to county attorney Craig Buche, the proposed agreement would involve a 10-year tax phase-in for redevelopment or rehabilitation improvements and an eight-year phase-in for new manufacturing equipment and new information technology equipment.

Through the project, the company has indicated plans to invest nearly $3.5 million in real estate rehabilitation, $5.4 million in new manufacturing equipment and $210,000 in new information technology equipment.

As for jobs, the project would also reportedly create up to 55 new full-time positions with an estimated annual payroll of $2.97 million.

In order to qualify for the tax phase-in, Smart Cabinet has agreed to stay in operation at its New Paris facility for no less than 13 years.

Alliance Aluminum Products Inc.

Last to be approved Saturday was a declaratory resolution supporting an eight-year tax phase-in agreement with Alliance Aluminum Products Inc., an aluminum extrusion business located at 52571 Commerce Court, Bristol.

Through the project, the company has indicated plans to invest $1.4 million in real estate redevelopment and rehabilitation. The project would also reportedly involve the hire of 10 new full-time employees with an estimated annual payroll of $343,000.

In order to qualify for the tax phase-in agreement, Alliance Aluminum has agreed to stay in operation at its Bristol facility for no less than nine years.

Final action on each of the three proposed tax phase-ins approved Saturday is set for Jan. 12, at which time the Council will hold a public hearing and determine whether or not the qualifications for a tax phase-in can be reasonably met by each company.