Two more manufacturers make investments

July 13, 2012
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Two manufacturers received industrial tax breaks from city commissioners last week, the first such actions taken in the city’s new fiscal year. The two companies will invest nearly $2.8 million over the next two years and have pledged to create 15 new jobs over that timeframe.

Display Pack Inc., at 1340 Monroe Ave. NW, is investing $2.1 million into new machinery to expand its production of thermoformed plastics and printed paperboard. The company will add 10 new jobs to its staff of 180 and will have half of its personal-property tax exempted for eight years.

“They obtained a contract of $7 million from a client here that was outsourcing its work. This is a good example of economic gardening,” said Kara Wood, city economic development director.

Specialty Glass Products is transferring its operation from Walker and will spend $675,000 on real and personal property. The company bought the building at 1012 Ken-O-Sha Industrial Drive SE and will transfer its dozen employees to that site. Specialty Glass will add five new jobs from its investment, which will mostly be used to purchase equipment. The firm is the only glass painter in the region that uses environmentally friendly, water-based paints, and its work is consistently used in building projects that seek LEED certification. The 50 percent tax abatement is also for eight years.

“I think this is an exciting project. They showed us their glass panels, and I’d like to put those in my bathroom,” said Commissioner Ruth Kelly, who added she was impressed with the ingenuity shown by Specialty Glass and Display Pack. “I think we have much to learn from the business community on how we can improve our product.”

Commissioners also set a public hearing date for July 24 to consider amending an exemption they gave to Grand Rapids Spring and Stamping, 706 Bond Ave. NW, in 2010. Back then, the company planned to invest $940,250 in its project that would create four new jobs. But GRSS ended up spending $1.5 million and is adding eight new jobs, instead of four, to its work force of 98 employees. GRSS, which makes custom stamping products and other goods primarily for the automotive and office furniture markets, has asked the city to tack on its additional investment of $575,000 to its original abatement.

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