Texas manufacturer picks Fort Edward for new factory
Nov 7, 2019, 12:17pm EST
WL Plastics will purchase 25 to 30 acres in Fort Edward where it plans to build its first water, sewer and natural gas pipe manufacturing plant in the Northeast.
The Fort Worth, Texas, manufacturer has reached an agreement to buy a portion of the 80-acre former General Electric dewatering complex on the banks of the Champlain Canal. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The purchase will include 45,000-square-foot and 25,000-square-foot buildings, the largest of which will be expanded, according to John Davidson, a vice president of D.A.
Collins construction company, who has helped market the property. Securing an anchor tenant for the property will help attract more companies to the site and an adjacent 120-acre property, Davidson said. At least a half-dozen other companies are interested in the property, he said. WL Plastics is expected to invest an amount comparable to a $17 million project the company announced last month in Lubbock, Texas.
The Fort Edward site is expected to employ around 40 people. The plant will manufacture high-density polyethylene pipe that will range in size from a 1/2 inch in diameter to 54 inches. The pipe will be used in the construction of water, wastewater, natural gas and oil transmission systems. WL pipe recently was used to replace a water line in the town of Cambridge. "This will create good jobs and will help the tax base," said town supervisor Terry Middleton. He lost his re-election bid in this week's general election but said it was more important to remain quiet about WL Plastic's
plans to make sure the project came together than to try to win votes and jeopardize the deal. The project comes less than two years after China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. abandoned plans to buy 32 acres of the former dewatering site. CRRC had planned to build a subway rail car assembly plant on the property if it won a $3.7 billion contract with the New York City transit system. That project would have employed about 200 people.
CRRC's plans fell through after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded the subway car contract to Kawasaki Rail Car in January 2018.
The dewatering site was owned by WCC, a holding company controlled by principals from D.A. Collins, until about a year ago when it was turned over to a nonprofit called Fort Edward Local Property Development. The property was used during the multiyear, $2 billion dredging project when General Electric removed sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls from the Hudson River. "Bringing a manufacturer here was a priority," said Zack Middleton, the supervisor's son, who also is a board member of the nonprofit.
"We wanted a sustainable tax base and we wanted something that would create jobs," Zack Middleton said.
Fellow board member Neal Orsini, who also owns the Anvil Inn restaurant in town, said the group is focused on attracting companies to ease the tax burden on the other businesses in Fort Edward.
11/7/2019 WL Plastics picks former GE dewatering site in Fort Edward for plastic pipe manufacturing plant - Albany Business Review
Since General Electric moved capacitor production from Fort Edward to Clearwater, Florida, three years ago, Irving Tissue is
the largest manufacturer left in the Washington County town.
"We have to do what we can to help keep Irving Tissue here," Orsini said.
The project will give WL Plastics nine manufacturing plants. The company also had considered building a plant in Connecticut
and Ohio, but selected the upstate New York site, which has access to rail service. The company relies heavily on materials
arriving by train.
Finished product will be shipped by flatbed trucks.
Davidson started talking with WL Plastics executives about 18 months ago after receiving a lead from New York state
economic development officials. Discussions heated up about a year ago.
The company is applying for incentives through the Warren-Washington County Industrial Development Agency. It was not
immediately clear what incentives they are seeking.
WL is expected to complete the land purchase by the first of the year. Construction of a building addition is expected to
begin soon and the company would like to start production by late summer of 2020, Davidson said.
The land sale will leave approximately 50 acres available for development of the property controlled by Fort Edward Local
Property Development. There are an additional 120 acres available on an adjacent property owned by WCC.
WL executives were not immediately available for comment.