OWEGO — Local officials joined Voigt & Schweitzer officials Tuesday morning for a groundbreaking ceremony of a new hot-dip steel galvanizing plant on Corporate Drive in Owego.
The facility is being built to service the increasing demand for hot-dip zinc galvanizing services throughout the state and will satisfy the company’s growing regional customer base.
“It’s good to see a lot of progress being made,” said V&S CEO Brian Miller, adding that the plant will be operational by year’s end.
The 75,000 square foot facility will bring local manufacturing jobs for the steel construction market, bridge and highway industry, utility industry and various other manufacturing sectors.
Miller noted that the policy for increased steel tariffs hasn’t had a negative impact on operations.
It’s been positive as long as the domestic manufacturers don’t increase their prices over the 25 percent tariff level, he said.
“Big projects throughout the country were getting fabricated and galvanized in China,” he said, noting that more business has come to domestic manufacturing.
“We’re excited to be in Tioga County and Owego,” Miller said. “Everybody has been to the hospital, and we think we’ll be a good source for the community as well.”
Notable V&S projects have included Yankee Stadium, Watkins Glen International, and the Pyramid residential center in New York City, as well as countless jobs involving overhead sign structures, sign posts and guide rails.
Miller said company officials looked at several underserved markets, and chose the Owego location due to the area’s strong workforce and its proximity to interstates 86 and 81.
“It really made Owego a great choice,” Miller said.
To date, the $14 million project has provided a $5.9 million boost to a wide variety of local contracting companies.
Owego Town Supervisor Don Castellucci noted that the facility will contributing $70,000 in town and county taxes, and over $100,000 in taxes to the Owego Apalachin School District.
The company will be adding over $839,000 in new real property tax funds on a previously tax-exempt parcel.
State Sen. Fred Akshar was in attendance to praise the project itself and those who worked to bring it to fruition.
Akshar praised county Economic Development and Planning Director LeeAnn Tinney, decribing her as a “tenacious pitbull” an “unwavering advocate for local economic development.”
“LeeAnn sees an eyesore or a vacant lot and sees an opportunity,” he added.
Additionally, Akshar praised the project for bringing additional jobs to the area.
“Thirty, 40, maybe 50 jobs, is incredibly significant in Owego and Tioga County,” he said.
According to the project’s cost benefit analysis, those jobs would have a minimum boost of $1.677 million within the county. Through the term of the 10-year payment in lieu of tax agreement, that represents over $16 million dollars.