Ashley chosen for $90-million investment
Ashley chosen for $90-million investmentPosted: Wednesday, December 9, 2015 12:00 am
By Mike Marturello
RES Polyflows board of directors approved Ashley as a site for the hub of its new state-of-the-art manufacturing process, KPC Media Group has learned.
The board made the decision following a meeting at Trine University Tuesday, pending signing a loan agreement with Steuben County, said Jim Ingledue of Jim Ingledue Construction Inc., which is working with the company on its facilities.
The decision came after the Steuben County Council approved an additional appropriation that would provide the company an additional $1 million interest-free loan. Earlier this year, Steuben County Commissioners approved a loan of $500,000 to the company.
Steuben County Council President Rick Shipe on Monday said the additional $1 million was needed to lure the company to Indiana because incentives from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. were less than what the company had hoped.
The loan would be part of the financial commitment needed by the company to augment the $90 million investment it is making in equipment and startup capital.
RES Polyflow — RES stands for Renewable Energy Solutions — takes waste plastic and converts it to transportation fuels.
Steuben County Councilmen Dan Caruso and Wil Howard were comfortable with the loan package after vetting the company. Caruso is a banker and Howard had spent years in the banking industry.
"As a community and a county elected officials, this give us not onlyt a huge opportunity to grow but to have a huge global impact," Howard said. "Their business plan seems solid and I've seen a lot of them."
Caruso said he kept turning every card he could find to possibly find something out of sorts but only kept turning up aces.
County officials spent a lot of time checking the company, its business plan and the technology it plans to employ, Caruso said. Officials received assurances from RES Polyflow's investors that the company and its plan were solid.
"The company has very seasoned investors who are very experienced at vetting out an investment like this," Caruso said. "I think this is a special opportunity. I think this is a unique opportunity."
Caruso said the company is bringing quality jobs to Steuben County, which was more important that a large quantity of lesser-paying jobs.
Company officials have said RES Polyflow will pay an average starting wage of $42,000-$45,000 in its first phase, which would employ up to 58 people with a payroll of $2.6 million with a second phase adding 50 jobs and an additional $2.2 million in payroll. RES Polyflow CEO Jay Schabel said in an August meeting five people would be brought in to the facility and all others would be hired locally.
Ashley has been the lone Indiana site in the running with two others in Ohio. Ashley was a finalist for the plant for a number of factors, including a strong transportation infrastructure, including two intersecting interstates in Steuben County, plus rail on site. The proposed site is 80 acres near the Klink Industries facility on C.R. 800 South at Interstate 69.
That the county had the ability to make a loan to the company also carried much weight, said RES Polyflow sales manager Michael Dungan during a meeting late last summer.
The $1 million loan is being floated to the company while other, private funding is being secured. That loan is to be repaid by July 1. If not, interest will start to accrue at the rate of 4 percent.
The $500,000 loan will be due by the end of 2023. Interest will start to accrue starting in January 2024.