Construction of a $55 million auto parts manufacturing site that will supply parts to Honda and Toyota is well underway at the Champion City Business Park.
Topre America, a Japan-based manufacturer, plans to open a new 146,000-square-foot plant at the end of the summer. The company has pledged to add at least 85 jobs over the next three years, with an estimated annual payroll of about $3.45 million.
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The company has already started construction of the site and is on track, said Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Community Improvement Corp. of Springfield and Clark County.
The business has had some thefts from its construction site, Hobbs said at a CIC meeting Thursday, but Topre has boosted security at the property. That should prevent further thefts from the construction site at 1000 block of Reaper Avenue in Springfield. Officials from the company couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.
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Topre’s plant will go on a roughly 30-acre industrial site that once housed an International Harvester/Navistar factory until it closed in 2002.
The Champion City Business Park was completed in 2013 after a decade of cleaning up industrial contaminants and improving infrastructure. That work was a key element of Topre’s decision to select Springfield over competitors across Ohio and in other states, community leaders have said.
The Japanese manufacturer’s decision to build a manufacturing site in Springfield could eventually lead to more interest from other international firms, Hobbs said.
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He also noted an increase in foreign companies looking at the Springfield area over the past four to five months, particularly from Brazil. Officials from Topre have discussed their experiences developing a manufacturing site here with at least one other firm that has expressed interest in Springfield, Hobbs said.
Local officials from both the CIC and Clark County also recently attended a retail convention in Las Vegas, part of ongoing attempts to bring more retail opportunities for the region. Local leaders continue to work with Buxton Co., a Texas-based consulting firm to identify and attract retailers.
While there were some positive meetings, Hobbs said it will continue to be a challenge to attract retail, particularly as the industry sees significant change including increased online shopping from consumers.
“My takeaway of the show was things were just different,” he said compared to previous years. “Many of the big-name retailers were either not there or they were subdued.”
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