- Michael Cooper Staff Writer
An Ohio manufacturer that will bring 400 much-needed high-tech jobs to Springfield will receive up to about $1.2 million in incentives from the city.
Silfex Inc., based in Eaton, builds silicon components for a several industries, including everything from computer processors to cell phones to cars. It has pledged to invest $223 million here in the next few years. It recently purchased the former Thirty-One Gifts plant at 1000 Titus Road near the PrimeOhio Industrial Park for $11 million.
“This is on the cutting edge of what’s going on in the U.S. economy these days,” Mayor Warren Copeland said. “We’re excited to have them here.”
Springfield city commissioners approved the tax deal Tuesday night.
The company looked at sites in four states when it started the project but chose Springfield because of its skilled workforce, said Kit Armstrong, general manager of Silfex, a division of Lam Research. The company was founded in Preble County before it was purchased by Lam Research.
“We’re an Ohio company,” he said. “We love the people here and it’s great to continue to expand in Ohio.”
The city will also spend about $215,000 to purchase the property next to the plant on Titus Road as part of the tax incentive agreement, according to public records obtained by the Springfield News-Sun. Silfex has no immediate plans for the adjoining property, but wanted to secure it to minimize any chance of others developing around their site, officials said.
The deal calls for the city to give back to the manufacturer 40 percent of the local income taxes paid by Silfex, based on the number of employees hired annually. The city’s incentives, including the property purchase, could provide Silfex a total of about $1.2 million between 2019 and 2023 if it hires 400 employees as early as 2019.
Company leaders have previously said annual payroll locally would be about $20.7 million. Pay will vary depending on the job duties but will average about $53,000 a year, including benefits.
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority also has approved a 12-year incentive package for the company that will provide a 2-percent credit on state payroll taxes, which could be worth up to $5 million if all requirements are met.
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The company plans to conduct most of its hiring locally throughout next year and begin production at the Titus Road plant in the first quarter of 2019. A second phase, in which the company ramps up its silicon crystal growing operation in Springfield, would likely begin in 2020.
The industry is changing rapidly and the demand for the product grows exponentially each year, Armstrong said, meaning the company is constantly evaluating its growth plans.
“We’ll continue to keep everyone updated on the project as we get closer to opening,” he said.
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