A new flexible packaging company plans to spend more than $25 million to open a greenfield location in central Ohio.
Ohio Pack LLC expects work to begin in May and construction in Heath, Ohio, to take about a year on a new 135,000-square-foot facility that will manufacture blown plastic film and will also laminate, print and convert packaging.
"We believe it's a growing market and it's an area where we think there's a lot of growth potential," Ohio Pack Director Mark Kasberg said in an interview. "The Columbus region, it's in a good location, good workforce and we wanted to move forward."
Ohio Pack spent about a year looking at sites around the country, first considering about six or eight locations before narrowing it down to three and then ultimately an industrial park in Heath.
The company primarily will manufacture polyethylene films for the food and medical markets, Kasberg said.
Production is expected to begin in February or March 2018, and the company anticipates employment to increase to 66 full-time jobs over three to five years.
Ohio Pack's building will be situated on about 20 acres in the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority's Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center.
The company decided on new construction to best house the equipment needed for the operation. Details about that equipment are still being ironed out, Kasberg said.
"I'm excited that we have this industry here because I think it's an emerging market," Heath Mayor Mark Johns said. "When I go to the grocery store I see these types of food packaging in various products and it's continuing to expand. I think they are in an emerging market and we're excited to have them here. It also further diversifies our industrial base here in the city."
With construction to start, Kasberg said Ohio Pack is limiting its comments for now. "I think as time goes on we'll be able to talk about it a little more," he said.
Ohio Pack is spending about $25.4 million on the project, including $13 million on construction and $12.4 million on machinery and equipment, according to Columbus 2020, an economic development organization serving the region.
"The nice thing about the city of Heath and Licking County as a whole is we have a long and strong history of manufacturing in our area. Obviously, over the years, the manufacturing industry has evolved and Licking County has been fortunate enough to evolve with it from a workforce development standpoint as well as from an infrastructure standpoint," Johns said.
Ohio granted the project a 1.55 percent, seven-year Job Creation Tax Credit for the project that's expected to generate $3.8 million in payroll, according to Gov. John Kasich's office.