By a 7-0 vote Sept. 24, the city council in St. Paul, Minn., approved a new, centralized factory for Anchor Hocking Plastics Inc.'s housewares division.
The site for the 370,000-square-foot plant is just a half-mile away from Anchor Hocking Plastics' current factory in St. Paul. Anchor Hocking has to move because the city is building the new Science Museum of Minnesota on its land.
The new location, a 20-acre site along the Mississippi River, last was used by Citgo Petroleum Corp. to build above-ground storage tanks. Anchor Hocking makes food-storage containers and other housewares products.
``It's a big step forward in terms of consolidation and modernization of our operations,'' said Rick Contino, president of Anchor Hocking Plastics.
The company will consolidate two area plants into the new building — its headquarters and molding operation in St. Paul and a distribution and assembly plant in Eagan, a St. Paul suburb.
Contino said the firm will continue to run its injection molding plant in Coon Rapids, Minn.
Earlier, the St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority earlier unanimously had voted to support a $19.5 million deal between Plastics Inc., which is the name Anchor Hocking Plastics operates under locally, and the St. Paul Port Authority. The HRA vote paved the way for final approval by the council.
Of that $19.5 million, $13.5 million will go to clean up pollution at the site and get it ready for new construction. The money will come from a combination of city and state funds and money from Anchor Hocking.
Anchor Hocking Plastics originally was going to move to another site in St. Paul, formerly occupied by a refining company, but HRA nixed the idea in favor of a housing subdivision for that site.
About 350 people will work at the new plant.