By STEVE GANEY
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — A new manufacturing facility is looking to move to Warrensburg, bringing with it new jobs and a sizable investment in the community.
Janesville Acoustics is set to take over the former BOMAG building at 618 N. Enterprise Drive. The company produces textile components for the automobile industry.
The company, headquartered in Southfield, Mich., currently operates manufacturing plants in Michigan, Ohio, Mississippi and North Carolina. The Warrensburg plant will initially produce trunk and dash liners, specialized carpets, and acoustical insulation for the Chevrolet Malibu.
The 155,000-square-foot building in Warrensburg will be renovated, and a 40,000-square-foot addition is planned to be built by the year’s end. The company plans to invest some $8.5 million in equipment and machinery. The total project is estimated at $13.4 million.
Janesville Acoustics is expected to create 124 full-time jobs, with a base salary at $33,000. The company is also offering to pay 65 percent of the employee’s health benefits plan. An additional 40 jobs are expected to open in the second year, according to a news release from the city.
“Janesville Acoustics’ decision to invest in Warrensburg is continuing evidence that our community has what it takes to compete in a global economy,” Mayor Charlie Rutt said in a news release. “Over 124 new full-time jobs is big news for our economy, and we look forward to working with Janesville Acoustics.”
City officials are assessing the company’s application for tax incentive assistance. Among the company’s requests are a waiver on all building permit and public works fees, as well as an abatement on a portion of the personal property tax on machinery and equipment.
They are also seeking to share with the city the cost of a new public parking lot, crosswalk and pedestrian signal near the manufacturing plant. Janesville has also applied for international trade assistance from the state, and a reduced energy rate from Kansas City Power and Light.
Janesville Acoustics representatives could not be reached for comment.
City Manager Paula Hertwig-Hopkins said that officials are still assessing the company’s application for the incentives.
“The city must go through due diligence. We are reviewing the application, but the council is supportive. You have to ask, ‘What is the return?'” Hertwig-Hopkins said.
She said the company’s interest in Warrensburg came to her attention after the Johnson County Economic Development Corporation and Kansas City Power and Light began meeting with Janesville Acoustics representatives last November. She cited three major contributing factors to the city’s appeal.
“One, we have the right size building that they were looking for. Two, we are within an hour of the KC airport, and three, we have a reliable and available workforce,” Hertwig-Hopkins said. “There’s no exact science to it, you just want to position yourself to appear attractive to businesses. We’re welcoming and we have a good quality of life. Those are all important when a company looks at your city.”
Hertwig-Hopkins said the City Council will review the company’s incentive package and is tentatively set to make a decision in March.