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Indiana EDC and City Of Columbus (IN) Seal Deal With Faurecia

The willingness on the part of the state, city, and utility companies to negotiate sealed the deal for a major auto parts manufacturer’s expansion.

2015 Auto/Aero Site Guide
In May, global manufacturer Faurecia announced its intent to expand its operations in Columbus, Indiana, with plans to construct a new 469,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Faurecia creates and distributes OEM auto emissions control systems for auto manufacturers all over the world. In the United States the company supplies systems for Ford, GM, Mercedes, Volkswagen, BMW, Nissan, FCA, and Cummins vehicles.

Faurecia is the third-largest industrial employer in Columbus, with a pair of buildings — an R&D facility and an emissions control center (FECT). So news that it finalized plans to construct a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility adjacent to its current locations is exciting for everyone. The company will create 131 new jobs, while retaining its 1,635 existing workers. It hopes to have the facility “bare bones” operational by the end of the year.

Hoosier Energy headquarters
Hoosier Energy headquarters
Though all sides were anxious to make the deal happen, the selection of the location of the plant was the result of amicable local negotiations aimed at “sealing the deal.” The property in question is part of the former Walesboro Airport. The local aviation commission has divided the land into sites zoned for an industrial park and planned to lease the sites to businesses. The Bartholomew County Rural Electric Membership Corp. (REMC) is among the “early takers” that relocated to the park in 2010.
Rather than lease the land, Faurecia wanted to purchase the land outright, and made an offer “slightly above” the appraised value, says Jason Hester, executive director of the Columbus Economic Development Board. The company was able to purchase the 36 acres and will invest $30 million to construct the new manufacturing plant.

According to Hester, Faurecia received a pledge of $1.5 million in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plan. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. will provide the City of Columbus with up to $250,000 in infrastructure assistance. “The airport board and the company both came ready to negotiate, and both sides accepted several concessions to speed this along, so all sides walked away happy,” notes Hester.

While negotiations proved complicated, the announcement of the deal at a public hearing emerged quickly. Jim Wittman, Key Accounts manager for Bartholomew County REMC, noted that, although the news was sprung on them, “It will take less time for us to address [Faurecia’s] new power need than it will for [the company] to build the plant. We’ve had customers that needed power in four to six weeks, and we’ve met that need. We already have the infrastructure in this area, we just need to run the wires.”

“Faurecia is a proud member of the Columbus community,” says Dave DeGraaf , president of FECT in North America. “While we considered several other communities for this new operation, our decision to continue to grow in Columbus is a direct result of both the quality of the skilled workforce here and the important considerations we’ve received from the state and city governments and utilities.”

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