Silfex, an Eaton-based manufacturing firm expanding to Springfield, has purchased the former Thirty-One Gifts plant near the PrimeOhio Industrial Park for $11 million, according to records with the Clark County Auditor’s Office.
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved an incentive package earlier this week as part of an agreement in which the company has pledged to create as many as 400 new jobs and invest $223 million in Springfield. Annual payroll would average $20.7 million.
Silfex, formerly known as Bullen Semiconductor, provides silicon products for the solar, optical and semiconductor equipment markets.
Silfex said in a statement it picked Springfield over other places.
“We consider a number of factors when choosing the location for a new facility, and the location in Springfield had everything we were looking for in relation to this particular project,” the statement says. “The new facility is within range of our current Eaton facility, which will enable the existing leadership team to manage and support both factories.”
The company also said the Springfield facility will play an important role in its production.
“Production at our new facility will largely mirror our existing facility,” the statement says. “Jobs will include technical and production positions. There is a continued demand for silicon consumable parts that are made by Silfex and are an integral part of semiconductor supply chain.”
Purchase of the property at 1000 Titus Road is an important step in finalizing the deal, said Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Chamber of Greater Springfield.
“It’s just another step in the right direction,” Hobbs said of the purchase.
The property previously housed Thirty-One Gifts, which produced handbags, fashion accessories, totes and other products, and personalizes them with monograms for customers. That company closed its doors in late 2015, and the site has been vacant since. Prior to that, the site was an O-Cedar plant.
The city of Springfield will continue to work with its regional partners, including JobsOhio and the Community Improvement Corp., to move the project forward, Deputy City Manager Bryan Heck said.
Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland said he couldn’t go into details but said he hopes the company finalizes its expansion.
“If this works out, it will be good for Springfield,” he said. “We have a perspective tenant that we are really excited about. All of the loose ends have not been nailed down so we have to be careful to not to celebrate but we are excited about it.”
He said he hoped all the paper work would be signed within the next few weeks.
“The building has been vacant and we have been attempting to get somebody interested,” he said. “Four hundred good jobs is always good news for the community.”
Public records obtained by the Springfield News-Sun show the company’s local investment would include on-site infrastructure improvements, and new machinery and equipment, according to documents provided by the state.
“The proposed project in the city of Springfield offers significant job creation with high wages in a key industry segment,” according to documents from the state agency. “Providing state support will help ensure continued growth for this Ohio based company.”
The state deal includes a 12-year, about 2 percent credit on its Ohio employee payroll taxes.
The state tax credit authority also approved a 1.32-percent, seven-year tax credit for the company in August 2016. In that case, the company pledged to create 109 full-time jobs and $5 million in new payroll by 2019 as part of the company’s expansion project in Eaton.
The company is required to maintain operations at that location for at least 10 years. The state says that deal hasn’t been finalized yet and Silfex isn’t receiving any tax credits for it right now. The company said it has plans to finalize that deal soon.
“The company is one of the few advanced manufacturers of silicon chips in Ohio,” state documents from that proposal showed. “Ohio seeks to significantly increase its presence and capability in this sector. This project also supports Ohio’s IT and advanced manufacturing strategies.”
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