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City OKs tax break, $700,000 grant for new $31 million plant treating steel

City OKs tax break, $700,000 grant for new $31 million plant treating steel

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The Waco City Council signed off on tax incentives Tuesday for a German company planning to spend $31 million on a new local plant that will create 100 jobs and could give local steel producers a boost.

The council also approved its portion of a $700,000 grant from the Waco-McLennan County Economic Development Corp. for Zinkpower Group to build the new hot-dip galvanizing plant near Central Texas Parkway and Mars Drive.

Hot-dip galvanizing, a common process in steel production, involves dipping steel into molten zinc to protect it from rust and corrosion. The local plant would be Zinkpower’s first new facility in the United States, though it bought a facility in Portland, Oregon, earlier this year.

The proposed 161,000-square-foot facility would sit on 23 acres in the 7500 block of Mars Drive. The public development incentives require a minimum $31 million investment, including $18 million in real property and $13 million in personal property.

Zinkpower plans to have the improvements installed by Oct. 31 and has agreed to hire the 100 full-time employees by 2023.

The city has agreed to give Zinkpower a 90% tax refund on new real property value each year for five years, in addition to a refund for taxes on new personal property, starting at 40% and tapering off to 5% in years five, six and seven of the agreement.

The city will also provide $350,000 of the $700,000 Waco-McLennan County Economic Development Grant. McLennan County Commissioners approved the county’s portion of the agreement earlier Tuesday. Both agreements require Zinkpower to create and maintain 100 full-time jobs with benefits and a wage of at least $12 an hour.

The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce works with the city of Waco and McLennan County on economic development projects.

“The facility, investment in capital assets and equipment all generate local property taxes,” said Kris Collins, senior vice president of economic development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce.

Zinkpower reached out to the chamber after scouting out locations for a new facility, she said.

“The gentleman that will run this facility has a lot of experience in the industry,” Collins said. “We definitely know there’s a need in the marketplace for it.”

Zinkpower, which was established in 1973 in Stuttgart, Germany, is a member of the American Galvanizers Association.

The plant’s customer base is expected to extend beyond Waco, city Economic Development Director Melett Harrison said.

“While they do expect to have a customer base right here in Waco with some of our steel folks, they do also anticipate having … manufacturers they will provide services to from at least Dallas to San Antonio,” Harrison said.

Central Texas Iron Works in Waco hot-dip galvanizing facilities for almost every project, Vice President Curtis Cleveland said.

“We ship it to galvanizers in Dallas, San Antonio or Houston depending on where the job site is,” Cleveland said.

He said hot-dip galvanizing is less common in commercial projects, but most industrial projects require the process. He said he is “looking forward to that conversation” when Zinkpower comes to Waco.

“We have to allow a week to transport it,” Cleveland said. “That’s potentially a week saved in every schedule.”

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