Wirco plans Avilla expansion

June 19th, 2015

News Coverage:

Wirco plans Avilla expansion

Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2015 11:00 pm | Updated: 7:07 am, Fri Jun 19, 2015.

By Steve Garbacz

AVILLA — Employees doing machining and casting work are so cramped in their current space that a manufacturer is purchasing a third building and nearly doubling its floor space.

Avilla is providing a 10-year tax break to help Wirco purchase the former DeKalb Distributing building at 201 Nicholas Place, and purchase and install new manufacturing equipment to fill it.

Wirco, which does heat-resistant casting and fabrication work, will spend about $1.3 million on the expansion project and create 10 new jobs.

The company, which already occupies two buildings nearby on Progress Way, is bursting at the seams in its current operations, and the 40,000-square-foot DeKalb Distributing building will provide space to introduce new manufacturing lines and services, Plant Manager Aaron Fisher said.

Wirco presently occupies about 45,000 square feet in its two plants, according to county property records.

“We’re piled in there so tight, you can hardly get around,” Fisher told Avilla Town Council members Wednesday of the company’s plants.

The 10 new jobs Wirco is promising to create will have an average annual salary of about $43,900 per year, or about $21 per hour. The new jobs will include both manufacturing and office positions, Fisher said.

DeKalb Distributing had previously occupied the building before the distribution center was shuttered in late 2012, Noble County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Rick Sherck said. Since then, part of the building has been leased to a company building pallets, but it has not been filled with a major manufacturer for more than two years, he said.

Fisher said the extra space will allow Wirco to separate its three distinct product lines among three different locations, as well as alleviate overcrowding. In order to add new equipment and staff, the company needed to expand, he said.

“This new building will provide that space for us,” Fisher said.

Wirco is spending $402,000 to purchase the building and another $975,000 to purchase new machinery.

The Avilla Redevelopment Commission recommended 10-year tax abatements for the building, which Town Council members approved on a 3-0 vote.

Taxes on the 201 Nicholas Place property have been been about $30,000 to $35,000 per year in recent years, according to county property records. By granting the tax breaks, Avilla will receive about half of the taxes it otherwise would have collected if the incentives were not given.

Council President Paul Shepherd thanked Wirco for its long history in Avilla and the company’s commitment to grow in town.

“We’re very happy to have you continuing to do your business here,” Shepherd said.