Owens-Illinois plans Windsor glass plant

Glass manufacturer Owens-Illinois Inc. announced Tuesday that it will build a new glass container manufacturing plant near Windsor in Weld County.

The plant is expected to bring more than 150 jobs to the region immediately and more than $481 million in economic benefit to the state over the next 10 years, said Bob Lee, director of the state's Office of Economic Development.

Economic development groups, government entities and a private companies joined forces to lure the company-- which was also looking at Wyoming -- to Weld County.

Toledo, Ohio-based Owens-Illinois (NYSE: OI) is the largest glass manufacturer in North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand and among the largest in Europe. In November 2002, the company signed a long-term deal to manufacture bottles for Anheuser-Busch's Fort Collins plant, spurring their site search in the area.

The Windsor plant will bring the total number in north America to 25 and will be one of the company's most productive plants. Windsor is located about 50 miles north of Denver, just a few miles east of I-25.

Owens-Illinois was given an economic incentive package totaling about $4 million. This package includes a $500,000 performance-based grant from the state of Colorado, which is given to the company for creating new jobs. In this case, the company is required to create 150 jobs in about three years, Lee said.

In addition, the state is providing a Community Development Block Grant of more than $770,000 to help fund infrastructure at the site and about $60,000 in job training.

Weld County, the town of Windsor and transportation company OmniTRAX Inc. also have given Owens-Illinois various incentives to locate at the Windsor site, including a business property tax rebate over the next 10 years.

The plant and its equipment will be an investment of about $119 million.

"It means we get a significant industrial development at a time when manufacturers continue to leave the state," said Ron Klaphake, president and CEO of the Greeley/Weld Economic Development Action Partnership, which helped broker the deal and obtain incentives. "There will 150 jobs at minimum with good wages and the plant will be around for a long time. There will also be a spinoff for trucking and transportation. It means a lot for Colorado."

600450 Owens-Illinois plans Windsor glass plant glassonweb.com

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