A cabinet company will hire 309 people over five years at a vacant former auto parts plant, ending a six-year search for a major new employer in Connersville, Mayor Leonard Urban said Thursday.
Wayzata Home Products Connersville, a unit of 6 Square Cabinet Co. based in Minnetonka, Minn., will occupy the former Visteon plant that closed in 2007, Urban told the Connersville News-Examiner on Thursday.
The deal was confirmed Friday by company executives at a press conference.
It's the same site where Carbon Motors planned to build high-tech police cars until its plans fell apart last year.
Wayzata will invest about $12.5 million in the 1.8 million-square-foot plant and 183-acre campus, Urban said.
The city about 50 miles east of Indianapolis agreed to sell the plant for $1. Urban said Wayzata will own the building and take over utilities, upkeep and insurance.
Founded in 2006, Wayzata Home Products makes semi-custom kitchen cabinets for CliqStudios.com, an online retailer.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Wayzata Cabinetry LLC up to $2 million in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on the job-creation plans.
"The best news is the former Visteon facility is now productive and back in manufacturing," Urban said. "This give the citizens of Connersville and Fayette County a new and hopeful outlook for the future of our community."
"If you go back, if not for Carbon Motors, this project would never have happened," Urban said. "When Carbon said they would come here, it made the (Visteon) bankruptcy court agree to give us the building. They would never had done that with nothing on the horizon. They would have salvaged the building to pay on the debt."
The state Brownfields Commission loaned the city money to clean up the site. If not for Carbon Motors promising to create jobs, that would never have happened, Urban said.
"No matter how much you hate Carbon Motors, they served a purpose and got us the building," he said. "I talked to a mayor of another city this week and he said, 'I don't know of another city that had the guts to take an old manufacturing, brownfield building, and do what you have done.' Most old buildings like this are being hit with bulldozers and wrecking balls. This may be one of a kind."