Iris USA Inc., part of the Japanese housewares molder Iris Ohyama Inc., is investing at least $83.6 million to build and equip a 500,000-square-foot factory and distribution center in Hazleton, Pa., creating 95 jobs.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe announced the project April 25.
Iris officials are still ironing out the details, but the new plant could house 50-85 injection molding machines, a company spokeswoman said.
Hazleton is the housewares manufacturer's first plant on the East Coast. Hazleton is located between Scranton and Allentown, Pa. Iris USA is based in Surprise, Ariz., and also has factories in Pleasant Prairie, Wis.; and Mesquite, Texas.
Iris comitted to creating 95 jobs in Hazleton during the next three years. In return, Iris will receive funding from the Department of Community and Economic Development that includes a $237,000 Pennsylvania First grant, a $42,750 grant for employee training, and $285,000 in job creation tax credits.
Last fall, the Hazleton Area School Board voted to let Iris pay a flat school tax of $100,000 a year for 10 years, and then to pay the full tax based on the assessed value of the facility.
"Iris USA Inc. is very excited to be partnering with [the economic development agency in Hazleton] and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as we embark on our company's first East Coast expansion plans," said Iris USA President Doc Takahashi.
Companies in Humboldt Industrial Park, where the Iris factory will be located, now employ nearly 10,000, said Kevin O'Donnell, president and CEO of CAN DO.
In 2016, Iris opened its 280,000-square-foot Arizona headquarters plant in Surprise, for a total investment of between $33 million and $40 million, local economic development officials said.