Maker of Indy mainstay Bar Keepers Friend plans expansion

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The Indianapolis-based maker of the Bar Keepers Friend line of cleaning products is planning an expansion at its headquarters that it hopes will earn tax breaks from city officials.

SerVaas Laboratories Inc. intends to inhabit a 20,000-square-foot addition planned for its 66,200-square-foot office, manufacturing and warehouse facility at 5240 Walt Place, near West 52nd Street and Guion Road. The facility is owned by sibling firm BRS III LLC, which has common investors.

SerVaas Laboratories also expects to buy new manufacturing, logistics and IT equipment—primarily to be used in reprocessing an abrasive form of recycled glass for use in cleaning products. In addition, a new stamping operation would produce aluminum tops and bottoms for canisters.

SerVaas Laboratories and BRS III have applied for tax abatements on the $1.6 million expansion and $2 million in equipment. The Metropolitan Development Commission is scheduled to consider preliminary approval of the requests on Wednesday afternoon.

As part of the agreement with the city, SerVaas would commit to retaining 54 jobs paying an average wage of $21.63 per hour, as well as create six positions at an average hourly wage of $18 by 2017.

BRS III is requesting a four-year abatement on the addition that would save $72,861 in real property taxes. Over the four years, the petitioner still would pay about $43,700 in taxes, then about $60,400 annually after the abatement has expired.

The requested four-year abatement from SerVaas Laboratories on the new equipment would save $57,768 in personal property taxes. Over the four years, petitioners still would pay about $30,700 in personal property taxes, then about $15,600 annually after the abatement has expired.

Department of Metropolitan Development staff has recommended approving the abatements.

Bar Keepers Friend was invented in Indianapolis in 1883 and has been manufactured here for 133 years, the last 65 under the supervision of the SerVaas family.

SerVaas Laboratories moved to its current location in 2011 after outgrowing a facility along Waterway Boulevard near downtown that it had used for nearly 40 years.

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