Kaiser Aluminum, Fabri-Kal Expanding in Kalamazoo Area, 877 New Jobs

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Companies Kaiser Aluminum and Fabri-Kal to invest $118.7 million in state

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced Kaiser Aluminum Corporation and Fabri-Kal Corporation plan to invest a total of $118.7 million to locate or expand operations in Comstock Township and Kalamazoo. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is backing the projects, which are expected to create or retain 919 Michigan jobs.

"Our tremendous workforce, competitive business climate and the fact that we have the most aggressive and comprehensive economic strategy in the nation helped us win these projects for the Kalamazoo area," Granholm said. "These expansions will provide good-paying jobs in the community and position both companies for continued success in Michigan."

Kaiser Aluminum Corporation, a Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based producer of high-quality fabricated aluminum products for aerospace and high-strength, general engineering, and custom automotive and industrial applications, plans to locate a new $80 million state-of-the-art billet casting and extrusion facility in the Midlink Business Park in Comstock Township. The project, pending the company's final approval of a lease agreement, is expected to create 717 jobs, with an initial 150 directly by the company.

"This new state-of-the-art extrusion facility is a key component of our $244 million growth initiative," Kaiser Aluminum President, CEO and Chairman Jack Hockema said. "Kalamazoo provides a strategic location to best serve our customers and pursue new opportunities for growth. The governor and her team clearly demonstrated that Michigan was the right place to locate and we look forward to working together toward a prosperous future."

A state tax credit valued at $3.7 million over 10 years helped convince the company to choose Michigan for the new facility. To support the project, Kalamazoo-St. Joseph Michigan Works! has pledged up to $280,000 in employee recruitment and job training assistance. The company currently employs 14 associates in Michigan primarily in sales and engineering positions.

Fabri-Kal Corporation, a Kalamazoo -based manufacturer of thermoformed products for the foodservice and consumer goods packaging markets, will invest up to $38.7 million to expand and relocate its current manufacturing operations to the former Mead Paper facility in Kalamazoo. The project is expected to create up to 160 new jobs over the next five years and retain 42. 

"Fabri-Kal has experienced continued growth over the past several years," company President Mike Roeder said. "The location of this new facility in Kalamazoo allows us to capitalize on this growth while taking advantage of the manufacturing and tooling expertise that exists in this state. Fabri-Kal is proud to revitalize a brownfield site in Kalamazoo while adding to the employment base of the community in which we were founded."

A state brownfield tax credit valued at $3.5 million will help the company return the vacant, functionally obsolete facility to manufacturing use. Michigan brownfield programs provide incentives to invest in property that has been used for industrial, commercial or residential purposes and to keep that property in productive use or return it to a productive use. Brownfield incentives can be used for functionally obsolete, blighted, or contaminated property.

"Both of these projects are great examples of how Michigan's inherent strengths coupled with our innovative economic development incentives can attract new corporate investment and new jobs," MEDC President and CEO James C. Epolito said.

The projects in Comstock Township and Kalamazoo are two of seven economic development projects the governor announced today. In all, they are expected to create a total of 2,225 Michigan jobs.

"Southwest Michigan First, the Charter Township of Comstock, the MEDC and the owners of Midlink Business Park have worked tenaciously for the past several years to bring jobs back to the Midlink facility," Southwest Michigan First Chief Executive Officer Ron Kitchens said. "Kaiser Aluminum's new state-of-the-art facility that will be located in Midlink and the world class components and specialized worker skill set that it will produce will undoubtedly attract others to the Kalamazoo Region.

"Equally exciting as the attraction of a new facility to the Kalamazoo Region is the retention and expansion announcement of Fabri-Kal which was made possible by the extremely important leadership role played by the city of Kalamazoo and their Brownfield Authority," Kitchens continued. "The owners of Fabri-Kal are to be commended for their community investment to expand operations into a building that has been vacant since 2001 which not only grows Kalamazoo's manufacturing base but provides quality jobs to the citizens of Kalamazoo."

In her 2008 State of the State address, Granholm emphasized the importance of creating opportunity in the changing world of the 21st century. Since January 2005, the governor and the MEDC have announced the creation or retention of nearly 220,000 jobs as a result of targeted assistance provided by the MEDC.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.