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$100 million aluminum can operation planned in Waco, up for $6.8 million from city, county

$100 million aluminum can operation planned in Waco, up for $6.8 million from city, county

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A company planning to make aluminum cans in Waco has pledged to invest $100 million in the project and create 121 jobs in exchange for $6.8 million in publicly funded economic development grants.

The Waco City Council and McLennan County Commissioners Court will consider the matter during separate meeting Tuesday.

Envases Group, a global company, plans to build a plant on almost 55 acres it is buying from the Waco Industrial Foundation along Wycon Drive in Texas Central Park, an industrial park near State Highway 6 and Texas Central Parkway. The plant would cost an estimated $35 million and contain equipment valued at an estimated $65 million, according to city and county documents.

“We’ve been discovered as a good place to put a company in for distribution, fulfillment and manufacturing,” McLennan County Judge Scott Felton said. “I think some prospects are discouraged by the congestion in larger cities such as Austin, San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth. They worry about getting their trucks in and out, about their employees getting to work on time. That’s what we’re hearing.”

Texas Central Park easily accommodates truck traffic bound for larger markets.

“People are finding out what we’ve known all along,” Felton said.

The city and county are each considering their part of a $4 million grant from the Waco-McLennan County Economic Development Corp. fund for the Envases plant. Each entity provides half of the economic development fund, and each must approve expenditures.

The city also is considering its own grant equal to half the property taxes Envases otherwise would pay on the plant and equipment in its first 10 years, an estimated $2.8 million.

The Envases announcement comes amid enthusiasm over Amazon’s decision to build a 2.69 million-square-foot fulfillment center on a 93-acre site it bought from the Waco Industrial Foundation on Exchange Parkway. It will employ 1,000 people making at least $15 an hour. Officials have said economic development grants are in the works for Amazon, but no deal has been announced.

Felton said more good news is on the horizon in terms of new industrial projects that may materialize in the next few months.

“We hate to blame everything on COVID-19, but it has affected how quickly things get done,” Felton said of negotiations and unforeseen issues that have arisen to delay progress on finalizing economic development deals.

The Envases deals would require the plant to create at least 121 new, full-time jobs. At least 113 would have to pay at least $15 an hour, and the rest would have to pay at least $12 per hour. All 121 positions must receive health insurance benefits, with the company paying “the majority of the health insurance premium,” and the average wage must be at last $44,500, according to city documents.

Envases Group operates 56 manufacturing facilities on four continents, as well as seven distribution centers, three research and development centers and a design center, according to its website. It is building a new aluminum packaging production facility in Hidalgo, Mexico.

It produces customized packaging for soft drinks, beers, energy drinks, teas and non-carbonated beverages. The local deals would be with Envases Group subsidiaries Envases Commerce LLC and IZ Texas LLC.

Envases would join another Waco plant that produces containers with a similar purpose but a much different material. The Owens Illinois glass plant on Beverly Drive, first opened in 1944, specializes in producing glass bottles for the beer industry.

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