Heartland making another investment in local plant
Heartland Automotive, which has made a quite habit of expanding its Greencastle operations over a 25-year existence, is making another investment in its manufacturing facility on Warren Drive.
Tuesday night the Greencastle City Council learned that Heartland -- the Ota City, Japan-based company that has called Greencastle its American home for a quarter-century now -- will be adding at least $4 million (possibly as much as $5 million once everything is finalized) in new equipment.
Heartland was granted 10-year tax abatement on the new equipment by City Council action Tuesday night following a public hearing on the proposed additions.
Over those 10 years, Heartland will still pay approximately $125,000 in taxes on the new equipment as it is phased in, Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center Director Bill Dory said.
The abatement will save Heartland and its parent company, Shigeru Industries Ltd., $187,000 over those 10 years, Dory added.
The new equipment will include two injection-molding machines, two interior paint booths, a slush-molding mach-ine, a headliner stamping machine and ancillary equipment.
Some of the new equipment will be installed as early as next month while the remainder will all be in place by June 2014, Heartland Vice President of Operations Ronan Miot said.
At this point, Dory noted, the new equipment is not expected to translate into any additional new jobs at Heartland. However, continued success by Subaru and Toyota in Lafayette could still change that.
On a motion by Councilor Phyllis Rokicki with a second from Mark Hammer, the Council unanimously passed Resolution 2013-3, declaring an economic revitalization area and recommending the tax deduction for new equipment.
"We've had the great fortune to have read this kind of resolution a number of times over the years," Mayor Sue Murray noted.
And Rokicki readily agreed.
"It's wonderful," she said, "when one of our employers wants to expand and be even more invested in the community."
That investment over time, Dory pointed out, has totaled more than $7.5 million in property taxes ($7,542,101.67 to be exact) paid out to local units of government during Heartland's 25 years of operation.
"People need to remember that," Council President Adam Cohen suggested in praising Heartland for its contributions locally, which also have included a $100,000 gift to the City of Greencastle in honor of its silver anniversary.
Also, over the past 25 years, the investment in equipment alone by Heartland has been well over $50 million, local officials said.
"Come back any time," Cohen quipped to Heartland officials in attendance at City Hall, which also included company Business Project Manager Ritsuko Abrams.
When Heartland purchased the old Ryan Building at 300 S. Warren Drive a quarter-century ago, it promised to bring 100 new positions to a community that had just lost 985 jobs with the closing of the Greencastle IBM plant. The 107,000-square-foot Ryan Building, which IBM mainly used for storage, had been built as a new facility for the Angwell Curtain factory in the late 1960s.
Today, after expanding operations multiple times, Heartland now employs 405 people fulltime (with an additional 200 fulltime temps) in a 300,000-square-foot plant that bears little resemblance to the original facility.
Of that current workforce, Dory noted, 61.5 percent reside in Putnam County, while 18.4 percent live in Clay County, 6.1 percent reside in Owen County and 4.9 percent call Hendricks County home.