IAC adding 53 jobs with $5.3 million in equipment

Thursday, July 11, 2013

In what has become almost a monthly occurrence recently, another local industry went before the Greencastle City Council with good news and a tax-abatement request Tuesday night.

This time it was International Automotive Components (IAC) Greencastle, which will be adding 53 jobs and $5.3 million in new equipment yet this year at its 750 S. Fillmore Rd. facility.

The City Council, acting on a motion by its president, Adam Cohen, unanimously approved tax abatement for the IAC project on a 10-year sliding scale (starting with 100 percent abatement the first year and finishing at 10 percent in the 10th year).

"Not many places get to do one of these every month," Mayor Sue Murray said following the vote and eliciting amens from Council members.

Just last month the City Council went through a similar scenario with Chiyoda USA Corp. on $7.7 million in new injection--molding equipment for its 2200 E. State Road 240 plant.

And earlier in the year, the city granted tax abatement on another expansion at Heartland Automotive.

"And some folks from last year are still rolling theirs out," Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center Director Bill Dory said of expansion projects previously announced at Crown Equipment Corp. and FB Distro.

Tuesday night IAC Quality Control Manager Emory Hardman and consultant Michael Clary of Diversified Property Solutions in Michigan accompanied Dory to the Council meeting at City Hall.

It's all about "new business coming into the plant," Dory said in explaining the IAC project, which is also expected to include $1.6 million in new tooling (such as molds for the auto parts) as IAC manufacturers injection-molded parts for area automakers.

The new equipment should begin arriving this month and be in operation by the end of the year.

"It's great to see another company reinvesting in itself here in the community," Dory told the Banner Graphic, adding that this is IAC's third time in recent years to come before the Council for tax abatement on new equipment (2005 and 2011 were the others).

IAC's economic revitalization and investment in new equipment is also seen as crucial to the retention of the 837 current positions at IAC.

"We know what you're doing for our community and we're grateful for it," Council President Cohen said, directing his comments to the IAC representatives.

Dory noted that IAC and "its predecessors" since 1988 have paid some $8 million in local property taxes.

IAC owes its Greencastle industrial roots to Shenandoah Industries, which opened the auto parts-manufacturing plant in 1988 after announcing its intentions to build here in the fall of 1987, just a few short months after the storied departure of IBM Corp. from the community.

Shenandoah soon assumed the new name Automotive Industries and then became Lear Corp. in a July 1995 merger.

Lear has kept its name on the car seat division of its company, Dory explained, but "spun off its injection-molding operations into IAC group."

Regardless, the operations have remained nearly the same at the plant as when they opened the doors more than 25 years ago.

"They've been doing the same thing out there since the get-go for the most part," Dory added.

IAC has also been leasing the neighboring former TechnoTrim building at the corner of Fillmore and Indianapolis roads. The facility is still owned by developer/contractor Harold Force of Columbus, who built it for TechnoTrim in 1988.

In the past, IAC has utilized that site for small production lines to create small quantities of replacement parts, Dory said.

In other business, the City Council:

-- Approved customary street closures for the annual Putnam County 4-H Fair Parade on Friday, July 19. Washington Street will be closed at 5 p.m. with the first units to head west from the point at Wood and Washington streets at 6:30 p.m. and reach the reviewing stand on the Masonic Temple lawn at 7 p.m. Units will then turn onto Indiana Street to head to their final destinations, north to the fairgrounds or south back to Robe-Ann Park or the high school parking lot.

-- Approved a noise waiver until midnight for the Elks Lodge to hold a Saturday night cancer and scholarship fundraiser with a band performing in the parking lot.

-- Heard that the scheduled grade work on the dam area along Albin Pond Road was again postponed last week by rain.

-- Heard Mayor Murray advise Councilmen Adam Cohen and T.J. Smith that ward meetings for their areas (First Ward and Third Ward, respectively) need to be scheduled.

The City Council's next regularly scheduled session is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13 at City Hall.

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