Sabert Corp. expanding local operations

February 28th, 2019

By Kevin Leininger | News-Sentinel

Sabert Corp. isn’t exactly a household word in Fort Wayne yet, but that is poised to change in a big way.

The New Jersey-based manufacturer of food packaging products that bought Mullinix Packages Inc. of Fort Wayne in 2016 has begun one major project at 8510 Ardmore Ave. near Fort Wayne International Airport and is planning an even larger expansion at the former Mullinix plant at 3511 Engle Road.

According to an application asking City Council to vacate an undeveloped portion of Land Drive in the Earth Industrial Park, Sabert is planning to add 292,000 square feet immediately to the south of its Engle Road facility, which makes a variety of containers for the food-service industry.

“This expansion will enable Sabert to add machinery and employees, thereby enhancing Fort Wayne’s tax base and providing additional jobs,” states the application filed with the Allen County Department of Planning Services to be considered by City Council later this month. The application does not state how much the project will cost or how many additional jobs will be created, and company officials have declined comment and no detailed plans for the project have yet been filed. Sabert currently employs about 400 people in Fort Wayne.

But work is already underway on Sabert’s new 175,000-square-foot Advanced Technology Center on Ardmore, which according to Plan Commission documents will centralize the company’s North American engineering and tooling operations and employ about 50 people in the development of new products, testing, engineering and training. Documents filed with the Department of Planning place cost of the project at nearly $10 million, but Sabert invested about $26.5 million in Fort Wayne last year, according to Greater Fort Wayne Inc., which also declined to comment about the company’s future plans here.

With annual sales of more than $500 million, Sabert operates facilities in New Jersey, California and Kentucky and overseas, and in 2017 announced plans for a 450,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Texas. Even so, the company might not be done growing in Fort Wayne.

Allen County Councilman Robert Armstrong, who has been working with Sabert on its expansion plans, said the company is mulling significant additional local investment and employment. There’s room: The new facility on Ardmore will occupy less than half of the 35-acre site.