anufacturing the energy-saving, electronically tintable glass used in commercial building windows and skylights "is a very capital-intensive business," according to an industry insider presiding over a corporate facility expansion in
A nationwide site search landed this project in
SAGE Electrochromics Inc. will build a US$110-million factory next to its headquarters in
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) provided incentives including JOBZ, a $1-million forgivable loan from the Minnesota Investment Fund and a $350,000 job-training grant from the Minnesota Skills Partnership.
JOBZ is an enterprise zone-like program that runs through 2015 and provides tax exemptions for sales tax, income tax and property tax. For SAGE, the benefits of the program were extended through 2020.
"JOBZ helped us in our hiring in the early years. Down the road, it will be a huge advantage when we become profitable and start saving on the income tax side as well," says Mike Kennedy, CFO of Sage. "These incentives are all designed to grow jobs. We committed to 26 new jobs and ended up creating 48 overall when we first moved here from
Kennedy says the project will break ground within the next month and the new plant will be operational in 2012. "This will be a very technical, clean-room environment, and every job will be held by a knowledge worker," he notes.
"SAGE was our big announcement of this year," says Dan McElroy, commissioner of DEED. "SAGE wanted to be part of the silicon glass industry cluster here, and JOBZ made it possible for the company to grow right here in
Located about 40 minutes south of the Twin Cities in
"There is a great concentration of glass companies in
SAGE employed Deloitte to conduct a national search to find the best site for the new plant. "
Specialty Cranes to Serve World
Demand for Nuclear Energy
Increasing market demand also prompted the creation of a new partnership and facility project that will serve the nuclear power industry. NuCrane Manufacturing LLC was formed in
NuCrane will manufacture a set of cranes for each nuclear power plant that Westinghouse builds. The new 54,000-sq.-ft. (5,017-sq.-m.) plant in
Bill Burns, president of PaR Nuclear, says Westinghouse chose the site in Hutchinson, about 50 minutes due west of the Twin Cities, because of his company's existing relationship with the vendor.
"They are a local, high-tech, precision manufacturer that serves a variety of high-tech operations," he says. "They do some very nice work, and PaR is the largest producer of specialty handling equipment for the nuclear power industry. This made for a very nice fit, and it will allow Westinghouse to grow significantly."
Another Project On the Horizon
Burns adds that there were "many positive factors for choosing this location. We received some tax benefits from the county and subsidies from the state for training the workers. It was very advantageous given the employment picture in
In addition, notes Burns, "over 70 percent of our supply is Minnesota-based. Our first crane is due for shipment on May 31 of next year. It will be delivered to a nuclear power plant that Westinghouse is building in
Burns explains the NuCrane was formed so that his company could achieve double-digit growth "over the next few years. We are a global supplier, and we deliver products to sites on all of the continents," he says, adding that "our plant in
McElroy says he expects
"We are experiencing a mineral exploration boom that will continue, we believe, for the next 20 years," the commissioner says. "We are seeing tremendous growth in the iron ore mining business, copper nickel and manganese."