Viracon, Inc., an architectural glass specialty manufacturer, will expand its operations in Owatonna, Minnesota. The company has received $15 million in New Markets Tax Credit capacity from CEI Capital Management LLC.
CEI Capital Management creates and preserves jobs and improves quality of life in rural, low income communities by providing access to project capital through New Markets Tax Credits. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of CEI, the Maine-based nonprofit community development financial institution which was among the founders of this federal economic development program.
According to CEI, as the demand for oversized, high performance windows continues to grow, Viracon will use the financing to purchase over $30 million in new equipment, enabling the company to better compete in a global market.
“The economic health of this community is linked to the long-term viability of Viracon, the second largest employer in the area,” said CEI Capital Management CEO Charlie Spies. “The New Markets Tax Credit program gave the corporate campus the edge to be home to the new manufacturing capabilities. The business growth and job creation from this project will help spur and sustain a healthy local economy.”
“As management considered multiple locations for the new capabilities, New Markets Tax Credit financing was a critical piece that allowed them to expand at its corporate campus in Owatonna,” CEI officials explained. “The New Markets program was created to stimulate economic activity in low income areas. The new plant construction qualified because it is located in a census tract with unemployment levels over twice the national average and a poverty rate of over 11 percent.
The new operation is projected to create 80 new full-time jobs over the next three years, as well as help retain 500 existing jobs at the current glass manufacturing operation and support the 1,300 employees housed at the Owatonna facility. The company will provide extensive job training for the new positions.
The financing includes an additional community benefit: $100,000 will be used to expand the company’s educational program, which covers the full cost of a 2-year associate’s degree at the local community college for qualifying employees. In addition, Wells Fargo provided an additional $3 million in New Markets Tax Credit allocation as well as project equity.