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Currier Plastics ready to start expansion in Auburn

By Journal Staff

Date:

Plans to add 50 new jobs over three years

 

AUBURN  —  Currier Plastics, Inc. is moving forward on a 55,000-square-foot expansion project that was in limbo at the end of last year.

The project is nearing a groundbreaking after Empire State Development awarded the Auburn manufacturer a $750,000 Economic Transformation Grant — a grant plugging a funding gap left last year by New York’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

In November, the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council recommended the state give Currier Plastics a $750,000 capital grant. But that grant was not included when New York announced regional council funding Dec. 8.

“Everybody kind of agreed that they wanted to nail down what New York State could do,” says John Currier, president and majority owner of Currier Plastics. “It’s difficult to bring this project together at one time.”

The expansion project, which has a total price tag of about $21 million, will nearly double the size of the headquarters Currier Plastics owns at 101 Columbus St. in Auburn. The facility, which is currently 65,000 square feet, will grow to 120,000 square feet after work is finished. Nearly all of the new space will be dedicated to manufacturing, Currier says.

Currier Plastics, which specializes in custom designs, injection molding, and extrusion blow molding, will acquire 9 acres of adjacent land to make way for the new construction. It also plans infrastructure improvements, including new water lines, roadways, parking, and traffic patterns.

“It’s a big logistical improvement for us,” Currier says. “Right now we have trucks and passenger cars coming in the same entrance.”

The new building and infrastructure will cost about $8 million, he says. Crews could break ground by the end of the spring, and
Currier Plastics would like the structure to be complete by Nov. 1.

Construction and infrastructure improvements are only part of Currier Plastics’ planned improvements. The company will also invest about $13 million in new equipment over five years.

The manufacturer will use the $750,000 state grant to help pay for the project, along with private financing from First Niagara Bank. It is also in line to receive $1 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

That’s because Currier Plastics expects to hire more workers as a result of the expansion. The company currently employs 100 people full time and 20 temporary workers. It plans to add 50 more full-time employees over the course of three years, according to Currier.

“We’re pretty maxed out right now,” he says. “Our guys have done a really good job of finding new work, securing it, and, most importantly, doing a lot of growth with our existing customers.” 

The Currier Plastics project may also receive some funding through the city of Auburn. In addition to working on a local incentive package, the city applied for $1 million in Economic Transformation Program funding from the state to put toward the project. Currier Plastics does not yet know if it will receive that funding, Currier says.

“We’re working with the city right now,” he says. “We are holding out hope for that.”

The manufacturer has not yet selected a general contractor or architect for the expansion project. It is currently bidding the
project, Currier says.

Currier Plastics generated $24 million in revenue in 2011, up 17 percent from the prior year, Currier says. The company is predicting 15 percent revenue growth in 2012, a rate it is on pace to meet through the first quarter of the year, he adds.

Before receiving the latest $750,000 in state funding, Currier Plastics looked at potential relocation sites in Central New York and in other states. The company also purchased new equipment for its Auburn headquarters to keep up with demand.

In April, it spent $1.75 million to purchase three extrusion blow-molding machines. Currier Plastics used its own cash and financing from First Niagara to pay for that equipment.

John Currier is the son of Raymond Currier, who founded the manufacturer in 1982.  

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