EnerDel hopes to hire 1,100 at new manufacturing plant

Fast-growing lithium battery-maker EnerDel will announce plans Thursday afternoon to hire 1,100 people over the next five
years at a new Hancock County manufacturing plant in a Mount Comfort business park just north of Interstate
70.

EnerDel will receive government incentives worth $53.1 million in exchange for its expansion commitment. Hancock
County will provide $30 million in incentives, primarily in the form of tax abatements. The Indiana Economic
Development Corp. will kick in another $21.3 million in performance-based incentives.

The
average wage for EnerDel’s new jobs is expected to be $18.50 per hour.

“It truly
is a poster child for how an economic development project like this plays out,” said Dennis Maloy,
executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council. “We think they’ll be a great
corporate citizen for Hancock County. We’re looking forward to a long relationship.”

Gov. Mitch Daniels
is scheduled to be on hand for EnerDel’s 1 p.m. press conference. It’s an announcement that’s
been in the works for at least six months.

Last July, Maloy said, IEDC project manager Todd
Cook contacted him to arrange a meeting with EnerDel, which was already well along in the process of site selection for
a new plant. The company had begun scouring central Indiana, particularly Marion and Hamilton counties,
Maloy said, as well as potential sites in Michigan. Locally, Mark Writt, senior vice president of Los Angeles-based CB Richard
Ellis, represented EnerDel in its search.

EnerDel was attracted to the Mount Comfort site,
Maloy said, because it’s “shovel ready” and then some. Last September, Browning Inc.
completed construction on a pair of brand-new buildings there designed for light manufacturing or distribution.
EnerDel chose the larger of the two, a 423,000-square-foot facility with multiple back doors and cross-docking. Maloy said
the other, at 250,000 square feet, is under consideration by several other possible tenants. There are also about
75 acres behind the buildings that could accommodate another facility of up to 1 million square feet.

Prior
to construction, Browning had secured 10-year tax abatements on both buildings, Maloy said. Hancock County also has
agreed to offer further abatements on EnerDel’s equipment. He said the company expects to spend $277 million to get
the plant running. EnerDel is seeking a $480 million federal loan from the Department of Energy to underwrite expansion. Heavy
manufacturing at the site requires a zoning variance, but Maloy considers that a formality.

Maloy said he isn’t
sure what sealed the deal for Hancock County, but expects EnerDel’s decision mainly came down to cost analysis and the
flexibility of Browning’s new building. He pointed out that Hancock County has established a tax-increment financing,
or TIF District, for the area, allowing it to capture taxes that will be used initially to expand both Mount Comfort Road
and County Road 300 to four lanes.

“It’s a big win for Hancock County,”
Maloy said. “It’s our mission here at the Hancock Economic Development Council to attract
and retain high-value jobs. These certainly fall into the category.”

EnerDel, a subsidiary
of New York-based Ener1, is a startup maker of battery packs for electric vehicles and other uses. It
has grown from 41 employees a year ago to 180 today. The company had already received
tax incentives and announced plans to create 400 jobs at its current locations in Indianapolis
and Noblesville by 2012.

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