By DARREL RADFORD – firstname.lastname@example.org
A vacant New Castle factory site could become busy again.
Monday night, city council members learned Beacon Industries of Edinburgh, Ind. is considering expanding to 2200 Troy Avenue, the former E-Coating Plus facility.
Council enthusiastically gave the go-ahead for local officials to explore “a vacant building deduction” – a three-year, 100 percent tax abatement. The estimated value of that, according to New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Corey Murphy, is $15,000 per year.
“They’re proposing 30 new jobs by 2022, 12 in the first year,” Murphy said. “Average wage is $17.31 an hour and as they add jobs, the average wage increases to a little over $20 an hour. They offer their employees an attendance incentive of $30 per week, which equates to 75 cents an hour.”
Murphy added the company is a “felon-friendly employer.”
“In other words, it’s not an automatic ‘no’ if an applicant has a felony,” Murphy said. “They want to have a conversation with the applicant and figure it out.”
Murphy said the company has already purchased the equipment at the former E-Coating facility.
“And so the question is, ‘where do they place that equipment in operation?’ Is it here? Is it in Wisconsin to service another client of theirs?” Murphy asked.
Murphy said the tax abatement offer makes sense for the city, given the already sizable investment made in cleaning up the Troy Avenue site, which was home to New Castle E-Coating Plus until 2016.
“Through our EPA assessment grant, we’ve already invested about $50,000 into the property,” Murphy explained, “to identify the issues and support the transaction. We were doing that before Beacon came along.”
Chris Sparks, president of Beacon Industries, attended Monday’s Council meeting and said the company, founded in 1993, was in an expansion mode.
“Since 2012, we’ve experienced about 65 percent growth,” Sparks told city council members.
That growth has led to a staff of 25 employees growing to 100.
“We have to expand our operations,” Sparks said. “New Castle makes a lot of sense to us. You have one of our biggest clients here in town. That particular client has other locations as well. The equipment that New Castle E-Coater had was exceptional. It’s a few years old, but it really is exceptional equipment. It needs to be refurbished. The building needs a huge investment as you probably know. Just to get inside to evaluate, we spent $25,000 just on the lights. There were no lights. There was no heat. The building does have heat now. We’ve got everything working now.”
Councilman Jeff Hancock made the motion to have city officials continue working out details concerning tax abatement, and that motion was approved.