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Firm plans $16 million revival of Kokomo plant

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A maker of porcelain products plans to invest $16 million to purchase, renovate and equip a vacant pottery plant in Kokomo and create as many as 140 jobs by 2014.

Patriot Porcelain LLC, a new firm which will be based in Kokomo, expects to make lavatory and toilet-related products in the 330,000-square-foot Kokomo factory, which was vacated by previous occupant Kokomo Sanitary Pottery Plant in 2007.

“This project brings significant new jobs and investment, activates a vacant space, and helps diversify our local economy,” said Chris Hamm, CEO of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance. “This is a home-run project for Kokomo.”

The plant is expected to be fully operational by June. The company plans to begin hiring for engineering, maintenance, quality control and packaging positions by the end of the year.

Big items on Patriot Porcelain’s list of planned expenditures include pressure casting equipment, robotics, assembly lines and drying equipment.

“The highly technical U.S.-based plant will be a one-of-a-kind operation that will allow us to manufacture the exact product currently manufactured overseas at a competitive price, something unheard of 10 years ago,” said Jeff Van Weelden, chairman of the board of managers of Patriot Porcelain, in a prepared release.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Patriot Porcelain up to $700,000 in conditional tax credits and $75,000 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. The tax credits are performance-based, meaning they cannot be claimed until jobs are filled.

The city of Kokomo approved additional tax incentives.

Correction: This story originally said that Patriot Porcelain LLC was based in Monticello, and that it would move overseas manufacturing operations to Kokomo. It is simply providing customers with an American-made alternative to products made overseas.

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