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Casket maker plans $16.5M investment, 300 jobs

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Indianapolis-based Genesis Casket Co. plans to invest $16.5 million to open a manufacturing and distribution operation on the city’s far-east side, creating 300 jobs over the next three years.

Mayor Greg Ballard joined company officials to announce the plans Wednesday morning.

Founded just last year, Genesis Casket expects to hire the first 150 employees at an average wage of $26 per hour by the time the facility opens in the summer. Management, sales and marketing, engineering, and production and distribution positions will be among those filled.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered the company up to $4.5 million in performance-based tax credits. In addition, Develop Indy will support the company’s request for a personal property-tax abatement before the Metropolitan Development Commission based on job-creation and capital-investment plans.

EmployIndy, formerly the Indianapolis Private Industry Council, has offered recruiting assistance and a $300,000 job-training grant.

Genesis Casket, which expects to produce 30,000 metal caskets in its first full year of production, is partnering with Troy, Mich.-based Gestamp North America Inc. to open the facility.

William Anthony Colson has been named CEO of Genesis Casket and will relocate to Indianapolis. He most recently served as president and CEO of Wilbert Funeral Services in Chicago, a manufacturer and distributor of burial vaults and cremation products.

“Indianapolis is central in proximity to many major markets, which makes it a preferred location from an operations and logistics perspective,” Colson said. “My team and I considered several possibilities.”

Genesis Casket will occupy the 241,000-square-foot building at 3011 N. Franklin Road sold recently by SMC Corp. and listed for $3.9 million. The sale price wasn’t disclosed.

SMC Corp. is a Japanese manufacturer of pneumatic valves and actuators whose U.S. headquarters are now in Noblesville.

In 2008, the state gave SMC $4 million in tax credits plus $387,000 in training grants to move 500 jobs to the Hamilton County city. The company expected to create another 250 jobs by moving to Noblesville.

In addition to the state incentives, SMC received $14.6 million in incentives and infrastructure improvements, such as road widening, from the city of Noblesville.

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