ANCHOR HOCKING MERGING 2 PLANTS

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ST. PAUL, MINN. — Anchor Hocking's plastic housewares division will consolidate its St. Paul operations in a new, 370,000-square-foot facility there by July 1998.

Plastics Inc. will spend about $12.5 million to build the plant on Otto Street, which will house housewares molding, distribution and division headquarters operations transferred from its current facilities in the city and in Eagan, a St. Paul suburb.

The new facility will have about the same space as the two existing plants but will allow a more efficient handling and distribution layout.

Plastics Inc. will move more than 25 existing injection molding presses to the new plant but it has no immediate plan to buy more, said Brian Rayl, vice president of human resources.

According to Rayl, Plastics Inc.'s other main operation, in Coon Rapids, Minn., will not be affected by the move. That facility has more than 25 injection presses and about 100,000 square feet of space.

Rayl said the city of St. Paul will donate 9.6 acres of land for the new plant.

Local officials also will provide about $600,000 as an incentive to keep about 325 jobs in the St. Paul relocation. St. Paul wants to demolish one of the existing plants and use the site for part of the new Minnesota Science Museum grounds.