Metaldyne will add to Bluffton facility
The company received approval from the Wells County Area Plan Commission Thursday night for the first stage of an expansion that will add 37,000 square feet to the operation on Harvest Road.
The company says it does not expect to add new jobs, but the addition will allow for training and skill development opportunities for many of its current 290 employees.
“Our operation in Bluffton has grown significantly over the past several years, and this expansion is indicative of our continued commitment to the community,” Thomas Amato, president and CEO of Metaldyne LLC and the co-president of Metaldyne Performance Group Inc., said in a statement about the new construction. “This addition would not be possible without the support of the local government, as well as the hard-working team at our Bluffton operation who have exceeded our customers’ expectations and earned their confidence in future business.”
Figures provided by Tim Ehlerding, Wells County’s economic development director, said the company plans to spend $50 million over three years and $85 million over five years.
Daun Spurgeon, engineering and maintenance director for the plant at 131 W. Harvest Road, said the expansion would be done in two phases — so technically, the APC’s approval was a partial one.
The company needs to acquire some property from a neighboring business, PendaForm, at 130 W. Harvest Road. Assuming that happens, the company will be back before the APC to have Phase 2 approved. Ehlerding is working with the two companies to get the deal done.
Spurgeon said the company is working against a deadline. New equipment will be moved in to the new facility on Feb. 16, 2016.
Thursday night’s approval had three conditions attached to it — that the front yard setback of 30 feet be reduced, that the company commit to an access road around the building for firefighters, and that 20-foot utility easements be granted on two sides of the property. The company had previously agreed to all of those.
The 10 members of the APC present Thursday night all voted in favor of the development plan’s approval.
Ehldering said at the meeting that Metaldyne is in the middle of a proposed tax increment finance district, and the tax revenue from the new addition will help reconstruct Harvest Road, the drive that serves Metaldyne and several other industries. Ehlerding estimated the cost of the new thoroughfare at between $1.2 million and $1.5 million.
The city is also assisting the company on site development assistance.
Ehlerding said in a statement that the Indiana Economic Development Corporation has offered Metaldyne a $100,000 grant from its Skills Enhancement Fund for training the company’s eligible Indiana residents and has also offered up to $250,000 in tax credits under the Hoosier Business Tax Credit program.
“Metaldyne has been a great corporate partner for Bluffton,” Mayor Ted Ellis said in a statement that was released by Ehlerding’s office, “and this sizable investment into the plant’s future is great news for our community.”
With the additional space, the company will work on transmission-related items such as differential assemblies and aluminum valve bodies.
Metaldyne’s Bluffton operation was recently recognized by the Ford Motor Co. with a World Excellence Award for delivering exceptional results in 2014.