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Boone County officials ‘surprised’ by ASI closing

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Boone County officials are expressing shock over the abrupt closing of a prominent Whitestown manufacturer that employed an estimated 250 people in the Anson development near Interstate 65 northwest of Indianapolis.

ASI Limited, which makes exterior enclosures for large buildings, informed employees by letter on Dec. 30 that the company was shutting down because it was no longer profitable.

In a statement, ASI said: “Management is currently reviewing its financial viability moving forward. It is hopeful that we can re-commence operations sometime in the near future.”

The high-profile portfolio of work ASI has built through the years made the closing even more difficult to understand for Dax Norton, director of the Boone County Economic Development Corp.

ASI makes curtain walls and exterior claddings for large projects throughout the country. Its work in downtown Indianapolis includes buildings such as the 33-story JW Marriott hotel, Lucas Oil Stadium and Central Library.

“This was just as much of a surprise to [employees] as it was to anybody else,” Norton said. “Everything seemed very strong.”

Norton said he has attempted to contact company President Ken Smith via telephone and e-mail to gather more information but has been unsuccessful.

Smith also did not return calls from IBJ.

ASI’s website says the company was chosen to design 219,000 square feet of weathered steel plates for the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where the New Jersey Nets are set to begin playing next season. Whether ASI finished the job is unclear.

With $65.2 million in revenue in 2010, ASI ranked as the sixth-largest glazing contractor in the nation, according to USGlass Magazine.

ASI occupied about 200,000 square feet in Anson and was one of three large employers in the development. Amazon has about 1 million square feet and about 850 workers while Medco occupies 400,000 square feet with roughly 450 employees.

Founded in 1989, ASI moved from Park 100 on the northwest side of Indianapolis in 2008 to the Whitestown Industrial Park in Duke Realty Co.’s Anson development.

Whitestown helped lure ASI with a property-tax abatement that is set to expire in 2017, Norton said.

He’s confident Duke Realty ultimately can attract a tenant to fill the space, if ASI closes permanently.

“The demand [for industrial space] is huge,” Norton said. “We have no industrial space available in Boone County. We have spec space, but as far as existing space, there is none.”

Meanwhile, an Indiana Department of Workforce Development spokeswoman said ASI did not file the required paperwork notifying the state of the plant closure.

Companies with at least 100 workers that expect to close or lay off 50 or more employees must notify the state 60 days prior to the action. The requirement falls under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1989.

Exceptions include “unforeseeable” business circumstances and natural disasters.

Federal guidelines say a company can be fined $500 for each day it is in violation of the required notification. Affected employees or municipalities also can bring federal lawsuits against a non-complying company.
 

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  • ASI Management
    The Commercial Property Market is very weak nationally. The market for application specific enclosures is very competitive, and the lowest bid may not be the highest quality. I hope this firm can reinvent itself locally and not be driven toward offshore fabrication, which several of the company's competitors have selected for profit reasons. I would encourage everyone involved in the bidding process for any large scale project to demand that delivered products be manufactured in the United States, at a competitive price. I truly hope these folks survive long term.
  • quick and cheap wins out
    Julia is correct. There was a hand blown glass shoppe in Nashville Ind. when i was a child. I took my children to see it only to be informed by the owner that they no longer do this. They did for a while, tourist would marvel and watch THEN walk 2 blocks away and buy chinese bulk manufactured glass. So sad but thats where we are.
  • Shame
    ASI used their vendors and bank to fuel there false growth. Is this going the extra mile?
    • Check please...
      Hey, Norman:

      Can you run down the street tomorrow and see if anything is happening in ASI's little fab shop near the site? I'm sure the bond company would love to know.

      Thanks!
    • Barclays Center work not finished
      You say it's unclear whether ASI finished the job of fabricating the facade for the under-construction Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It's pretty clear in Brooklyn that they have not done so.

      See:

      http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2012/01/fcrs-gilmartin-tells-crain-that.html
      http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2012/01/company-fabricating-metal-arena-facade.html

      Norman Oder
      Atlantic Yards Report
    • Shame
      My experience with ASI Limited and Ken Smith was that they did things the right way, really cared about their work and their employees, and were willing to go the extra mile to serve their clients on special and high-profile jobs.

      In today's low-bid, do-it-cheap-and-quick environment, apparently holding this attitude and sticking to your values is no longer possible if a company is to stay profitable. It's a shame that companies like ASI Limited, who is exactly the type of company we say we want, can't hold on.

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      1. Apologies for the wall of text. I promise I had this nicely formatted in paragraphs in Notepad before pasting here.

      2. I believe that is incorrect Sir, the people's tax-dollars are NOT paying for the companies investment. Without the tax-break the company would be paying an ADDITIONAL $11.1 million in taxes ON TOP of their $22.5 Million investment (Building + IT), for a total of $33.6M or a 50% tax rate. Also, the article does not specify what the total taxes were BEFORE the break. Usually such a corporate tax-break is a 'discount' not a 100% wavier of tax obligations. For sake of example lets say the original taxes added up to $30M over 10 years. $12.5M, New Building $10.0M, IT infrastructure $30.0M, Total Taxes (Example Number) == $52.5M ININ's Cost - $1.8M /10 years, Tax Break (Building) - $0.75M /10 years, Tax Break (IT Infrastructure) - $8.6M /2 years, Tax Breaks (against Hiring Commitment: 430 new jobs /2 years) == 11.5M Possible tax breaks. ININ TOTAL COST: $41M Even if you assume a 100% break, change the '30.0M' to '11.5M' and you can see the Company will be paying a minimum of $22.5, out-of-pocket for their capital-investment - NOT the tax-payers. Also note, much of this money is being spent locally in Indiana and it is creating 430 jobs in your city. I admit I'm a little unclear which tax-breaks are allocated to exactly which expenses. Clearly this is all oversimplified but I think we have both made our points! :) Sorry for the long post.

      3. Clearly, there is a lack of a basic understanding of economics. It is not up to the company to decide what to pay its workers. If companies were able to decide how much to pay their workers then why wouldn't they pay everyone minimum wage? Why choose to pay $10 or $14 when they could pay $7? The answer is that companies DO NOT decide how much to pay workers. It is the market that dictates what a worker is worth and how much they should get paid. If Lowe's chooses to pay a call center worker $7 an hour it will not be able to hire anyone for the job, because all those people will work for someone else paying the market rate of $10-$14 an hour. This forces Lowes to pay its workers that much. Not because it wants to pay them that much out of the goodness of their heart, but because it has to pay them that much in order to stay competitive and attract good workers.

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      5. It is sad to see these races not have a full attendance. The Indy Car races are so much more exciting than Nascar. It seems to me the commenters here are still a little upset with Tony George from a move he made 20 years ago. It was his decision to make, not yours. He lost his position over it. But I believe the problem in all pro sports is the escalating price of admission. In todays economy, people have to pay much more for food and gas. The average fan cannot attend many events anymore. It's gotten priced out of most peoples budgets.

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