Ireland-based James Hardie, global manufacturer of fiber cement siding and interior products, plans a nearly $80 million investment to expand its manufacturing facility in Plant City, Florida
. The project is expected to create more than 100 new jobs by 2015 in eastern Hillsborough County.
As part of the expansion, the manufacturer will retrofit an existing pipe plant for sheet production, adding 100,000 square feet of space, as well as new machinery and equipment. The growth will double production capacity and allow James Hardie to meet increased demand for its fiber cement siding products, which are used on 5.5 million homes across North America.
“This is an exciting time for James Hardie in both Plant City and around the world,” said Ryan Sullivan, James Hardie South Division General Manager. “This process expansion underscores the importance of our local workforce and its ability to meet our customers’ needs and build upon James Hardie’s innovative legacy that began in 1888. Innovation that happens in Plant City resonates around the world, and the catalyst is the great environment we have here. Employees see themselves as a family, and that says a lot about the people in the city and the surrounding community.”
Headquartered in Ireland, James Hardie was the first to introduce fiber cement siding products to the U.S. as a durable, lower-maintenance alternative to wood, OSB and vinyl siding, Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development said. The 125-year-old company established operations in Plant City in 1994, and currently employs about 100 associates at its South Woodrow Wilson Street facility.
“James Hardie has been a valuable member of our business community for more than two decades,” said Mayor Mary Thomas Mathis. “Its decision to expand in Plant City is a testament to the strong business environment we’ve created, and validates our role as a top manufacturing and distribution center.”
Last year, the City of Plant City approved a moratorium on the collection of transportation mobility fees to increase competitiveness in pursuing high-impact economic development projects. As a result of this program, James Hardie will receive a fee waiver of $37,300. The company is also eligible for Florida’s new Machinery and Equipment Sales Tax Exemption program.
“This is great news for our community,” said the Hon. Mark Sharpe, Chairman of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. “Manufacturing is an important part of our economic growth strategy, and with recent announcements by Granex Inc., Covidien, and now James Hardie, it’s clear that our efforts are making an impact.”
“This is a big win for Plant City and Hillsborough County,” said Allen Brinkman, Chair of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation
and Chairman, President and CEO of SunTrust Bank Tampa Bay. “Manufacturing projects are among the most competitive and highly prized in economic development, and as the industry begins to show signs of recovery and expansion, we’re well-positioned to leverage this momentum.”