Faurecia gets go-ahead on plant

Columbus officials have granted Faurecia everything the company requested to build a new $30 million plant at the former Walesboro Airport property.

The Columbus City Council approved the sale of nearly 36 acres at the airport site for just over $1 million, and council members unanimously approved a 10-year tax abatement for the company.

Faurecia’s plans are the first economic development plans approved for the former airport property, where the city is attempting to sell about 700 acres to developers through a request-for-proposals process.

The company, which produces exhaust systems for automakers General Motors, Ford and Chrysler and is also a Cummins supplier, plans to invest an additional $61 million in equipment for the new 400,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

The new building will be next to the company’s research and development center, at 950 W. County Road 450S, near County Road 175W. Construction on the new facility is expected to begin later this year.

Faurecia employs 1,635 between its manufacturing facility at 601 Gladstone Ave. in Columbus and the research and development center, which is on the edge of the Walesboro property.

The new plant should generate 131 new jobs by December 2017, with average salaries at $55,000, said Bill Bowling, Faurecia’s industrial director for manufacturing engineering.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Faurecia up to $1.5 million in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job-creation plans, Jason Hester, executive director of the Columbus Economic Development Board, announced in a news release.

The tax credits are performance-based, which means until the workers are hired the company is not eligible to claim the incentives.

Also, the economic development corporation will provide the city of Columbus with up to $250,000 in infrastructure assistance from the state’s Industrial Development Grant Fund, Hester said in the release.

Bowling said the company had been on a tight timeline to make a decision about where to locate the new plant and had looked at other sites in other states.

But the company decided to continue its growth plans with the Columbus community and to make its investment in the city, he said.

About Faurecia

Faurecia is the world’s sixth-largest automotive supplier, with four business groups: automotive seating, emissions control technologies, interior systems and automotive exteriors.

In North America, Faurecia had sales of $6.2 billion in 2014. The company employs more than 20,000 people at 47 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Worldwide, the company employs 99,500 people in 34 countries at 330 sites and 30 research and development centers.

For more on Faurecia, visit facebook.com/faureciaNA, or the company’s website at faurecia.com.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.