Archive for Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, Plastikon Industries announce plans for new facility, 120 jobs in Lawrence

The East Hills Business Park, located along Kansas Highway 10 in East Lawrence, celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2008.

The East Hills Business Park, located along Kansas Highway 10 in East Lawrence, celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2008.

October 21, 2010, 11:17 a.m. Updated October 21, 2010, 2:58 p.m.


More than 120 new jobs are coming to Lawrence’s East Hills Business Park in what local leaders hope is the beginning of a bioscience boost for the area.

Leaders with Plastikon Industries confirmed Thursday that they’ve chosen Lawrence for a new plant that will manufacture plastic vials used in health care labs across the world.

“This is a great win for us,” said Beth Johnson, vice president of economic development for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. “The jobs are going to be great.”

The company expects to hire 50 people initially, and then have employment totals grow to 126 workers within three years. The average salary for production workers is expected to be about $45,000 per year. When plant management and engineering positions are added, the average salary grows to $58,531 per year.

Company leaders have said the project will involve very few transfers from other Plastikon locations. Most of the new employees are expected to be hired from the area.

Economic development leaders said the project also should be good for the area’s efforts to attract more bioscience firms. Plastikon vice president Kaveh Soofer cited Lawrence’s “highly skilled biotech and pharmaceutical employment base” as a major reason the company chose Lawrence over sites in Chicago and South Carolina. The company, upon completion of the deal, will be the city’s largest private biotech employer, Johnson said.

“I think what it will do is increase the awareness of Lawrence in the biosciences arena,” Johnson said. “When other companies are looking at Lawrence, it will allow us to say that we have biotech companies of all sizes.”

Plastikon will buy a building in East Hills that once was supposed to be the next big development in Lawrence’s biosciences effort. As part of a $7 million deal, Plastikon will buy and renovate the former Serologicals building, 3780 Greenway Circle. The building has sat largely vacant since 2004 when plans to start manufacturing a pharmaceutical by-product fell through.

Plastikon leaders are not seeking a tax abatement as part of the deal. Instead, the company is asking the city and county to provide about $60,000 worth of workforce training assistance to the company during the next five years.

Under the proposed deal, the city and county each would provide $250 of training assistance per worker, but would be allowed to stretch the payments out during a five-year period.

The city is being asked to issue $7 million worth of industrial revenue bonds for the project. The bonds allow the company to receive lower financing rates, but do not obligate the city to financially back the project. Industrial revenue bonds technically take property off the tax rolls, but City Manager David Corliss said the company has agreed to make payments in lieu of taxes to ensure that the project pays its full share of property taxes.

City commissioners are expected to review the deal at their Tuesday evening meeting and send the proposal to the Public Incentives Review Committee for an official recommendation.

“It will be a good project,” Corliss said. “And it really is in a bit of sweet spot for us because it has a bioscience relationship and it is plastics related.”

The company will become the city’s second major plastics related company. Berry Plastics has about 950 employees in the city and is looking to expand with a new 600,000-square-foot warehouse.

Plastikon, based just outside of San Francisco, hopes to have the new Lawrence facility operational during the second quarter of 2011.


glenner 3 years, 1 month ago

10 year tax abatement ran out and so did Sauer-Danfoss. Wonder how long Plastikon will stay????


Cait McKnelly 3 years, 5 months ago

I may have missed this but did this company get stimulus funding? And they're creating JOBS? Oh the horror.


oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 5 months ago

couldn't the not for profit group that developed EAst Hills begin paying back the grant the county gave, to start the park, it was a grant, sadly, since no one of the Development Group sees fit to return the $750,000plus all the money spent to take infrastructure to the park.

Sad, sorry, and suckers the taxpayers are.


Flap Doodle 3 years, 5 months ago

Relax and have a popsicle, bub. It's a cool and fruity treat on a fall evening.


NoFitz 3 years, 5 months ago

great. the homeless ask for a buck and the city / chamber try to push them out. "plastikon industries" gets placed on the taxpayer's dole and they're a bunch of flippin heroes? with all these high paying, secure jobs coming in that i'm sure will never leave the area, and the huge boon it's sure to be for our tax revenue, maybe now the merchants can stop worrying about a few panhandlers?

somehow, i doubt it.

welcome plastikon. goodbye clean water.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 5 months ago

Property owners/developers and the real estate industry are very big budget items forced on the taxpayers.

Why do you think Lawrence growth is lagging?


Richard Heckler 3 years, 5 months ago

What I do not understand is why taxpayers are being forced to cough up any money so the Serologicals building owner(s) can get that space sold.

Why don't the Serologicals building owner(s) put up the money to encourage a buyer? Taxpayers are getting duped!

Why didn't the property owners take the $60,000 off the asking price?

This was a bad business deal for taxpayers across the board!!! Real estate speculation is a gamble therefore it is up to the gamblers to make a deal work.

it is NOT the duty of the taxpayer or local government to maximize profits for speculators. Speculating=gambling. Land speculators know these things.

Very irresponsible and reckless use of my tax dollars!!!


kansasmutt 3 years, 5 months ago

If you have 40 production workers making $8.00 an hour and you have 6 upper mamagment workers making $20.00 an hour and 4 higher ups makeing $30.00 plus an hour , your average wage figure will be much greater. My guess would be the average worker will be in the $9.00 an hour area. With all the workers looking for work, they will be able to pick the best at a cheap labor rate , so they can make more money.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 5 months ago

Isn't it odd that community taxpayers must pay companies tax dollars to locate in their county/city?

Is this wealthy company not capable of financing their employee training? Do they not budget for employee training?

Another tax increase negotiated by way of the Chamber of Commerce....

That average salary number may well be fortified by a very few high salaries which is to ask how was that number $45,000 arrived at? Is is artificial?

120 employees.... maybe and maybe not. I would not bet on 120 employees. How many employees will taxpayers ultimately be asked for finance? For how many years?

Does Plastiko have substantial "pollution clean up" insurance? How much?


camper 3 years, 5 months ago

This is great news, first because it will bring good jobs to Lawrence. Good news because it will help the labor market as current employers will need to compete with this company for employees. This can only help Lawrence median income. Good because it will bring more taxable income and sales tax revenue which can only Lawrence's budget.

The 60k for training expense (over 5-years) is miniscule if viewed in scale. What is that, less than 1 dollar per resident over 5-years? Almost all companies negotiate these types of arrangements before deciding on a location, and this one seems to be generous on the part of Plastikon.

And furthermore, a manufacturing company based right here in the US? Wow. Heartening to see that it did not go overseas (for the time being atleast).

At face value this is a win win situation.


seeker_of_truth 3 years, 5 months ago

The only problem I see is C of C claiming credit, that means taxpayers just got screwed, just not showing how yet.


BigPrune 3 years, 5 months ago

I'd also like to point out that it took over 6 years to move a vacant building in Lawrence. What's that say about Lawrence?


said_zeppelin 3 years, 5 months ago

Let's start with AE. Ottawa did offer a better deal but only after they heard AE was looking at Lawrence. Ottawa took a longer term view that offering incentives (up to 10 years) would pay huge dividends during the incentives (jobs and payroll) and over time (property taxes). AE originally wanted to build a 400,000 sq ft building which they did in Ottawa. They now have a campus of over 1.2 million feet and employ hundreds of people contributing tens of millions in payroll a year to the community and since that was almost 10 years ago property taxes will be kicking in. Sounds to me like a pretty good deal for any community!

Now back to the near-sighted view of incentives. Did any of the naysayers read that the incentives are to train people? These are usually reimbursement programs that off set the money already spent for training employees. Did you stop to think about how the people that work there (and live here) benefit from job training and soft-skills training? Did you stop to think that they take these skills with them?

I am guessing that the state incentives are part of the High Performance Incentive Program (you can look it up on the Kansas Department of Labor website) that also REQUIRES training as a condition of receiving funds. Even if the company decided to move on after 10 years (which I would think would take a major reason to do so) they would leave behind a workforce that is far better prepared to find a job elsewhere.

So... Welcome Plasticon and please contribute payroll and training to this community!


vegetablegirl 3 years, 5 months ago

Denny2009-don't rush back to Larryville. Here is the lie that the fantastic economic development group allows employers to tell... that $45K includes a 30% markup for benefits. So $45K is really closer to $30K; which would really be $14.?? per hour. Beth and her crew should do Lawrence right and tell the truth on the actual probability of these jobs materializing. Let's just wait and see.......I have zero faith in these people.


Bladerunner 3 years, 5 months ago

But while we are on the subject....Please vote "NO" to the 26 Million in taxes we would pay to "fix" our library. Thank you!


Denny2009 3 years, 5 months ago

I like what I hear. I had to move out of Lawrence for the lack of decent paying professional jobs. Maybe now I could move back in a few years.


papakeno 3 years, 5 months ago

This is great news for Lawrence. I suspect this will lead to more companies relocating to Lawrence from the coasts.


BigPrune 3 years, 5 months ago

I haven't heard anyone say, "virginal farmland" yet.

Okay, all you kooks and crazy liberals out there...........don't screw this one up like you did when you ran off American Eagle Outfitters. So it isn't a "green" company and it isn't Federal or State employment, it sure as heck pays better than KU. Blue collar people making more money than some professors or school ain't fair.

Now go back to your $18,000,000 taxpayer paid for Taj Majal library that all the millionaires in town united with you on. Some wives need pet projects to get them through the boredom of the day in a big empty mansion. It's all good.


Healthcare_Moocher 3 years, 5 months ago

I am very glad they are going to be here. I ran the numbers and 45K equates to $21.63/hr. I am sure that very few places pay that. Factory work starts in this town at what? $11 to $13/hr, supervisors at $15-$17/hr. This 45K must include a huge benefit package.

I doubt that any corporation would come to the midwest and pay west or east coast wages. Again, I am very glad the additional employement is on its way, but this does not pass the smell test.


grammaddy 3 years, 6 months ago

Just glad to see that building finally being used. And grateful for a few more jobs here.


labmonkey 3 years, 6 months ago

Good luck to Plastikon and its future employees. May the company be successful and share that success with those it hires.


jumpin_catfish 3 years, 6 months ago

Kudos to all who made this happen! The Chamber is our friend you crazy liberals.


Number_1_Grandma 3 years, 6 months ago

"The company expects to hire 50 people initially, and then have employment totals grow to 126 workers within three years. The average salary for production workers is expected to be about $45,000 per year. When plant management and engineering positions are added, the average salary grows to $58,531 per year."

I'll believe it when I see it. Sounds good if they're wanting a tax abatement. If not asking, great and welcome to Lawrence. If tax abatement is involved, we'll find in 10 yrs where "things didn't work out like we hoped" story.


macon47 3 years, 6 months ago

I suspect very few lawrencians will Get hired on. This is one of those typical Employeers that expect you to show up Every day, on time, and not leave early For one of those pesky personal errands. I bet you have to spend most of Your day working with out Twittering or posting on line Too bad, so sad It is always more fun in mom and dads Basement


Liberal 3 years, 6 months ago

We must not add more plastic into the world. Bring a company that will take over the plant and use free range pig bladders from pigs who have been properly thanked for providing their bacon to ship medicine or a company that will make Kansas Clay containers that we can reuse for transporting blood for transfusions.

BAN PLASTIC NOW! What are you people thinking?


alfie 3 years, 6 months ago

Here is a better story....... A California-based health care company is moving into a vacant biopharmaceutical building in Lawrence next year, bringing with it a $7 million investment and adding 126 area jobs.

Bob Marcusse, CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council, said Plastikon’s presence in the region will “strengthen our case with other potential target companies.”

Plastikon, a contract manufacturer for the health care industry, will move into the 40,000-square-foot building in Lawrence’s East Hills Business Park by the second quarter of 2011. The $7 million will go toward the purchase and renovation of the space as a production facility. The facility was occupied by Serologicals Inc. until 2006.

“After many months of research and analysis we decided on Lawrence, Kan., for our new site because of the highly skilled biotech and pharmaceutical employment base this great community offers,” Kaveh Soofer, Plastikon’s vice president of global sales and engineering, said in the release. “We have been very impressed with the people, city and state and are looking forward to launching our new successful project this spring.”

Plastikon also was considering space in Chicago and South Carolina.

Beth Johnson, vice president of economic development with the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, said the community, state and regional support in the life sciences helped attract Plastikon to Lawrence.

“I think it was our ability to show them the benefits of being here,” she said. “Everybody really stepped up to the plate to make them feel really welcome.”

The KCADC and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the Kansas Bioscience Authority, the Kansas Department of Commerce, Grubb & Ellis | The Winbury Group, and CRB Engineers and Builders to attract the company.

Lawrence has offered to work with the company toward issuing $7 million in Industrial Revenue Bond financing, Johnson said. Also, Lawrence and Douglas County have offered a work force training grant of as much as $63,000 — $500 an employee to 126 employees — during the next five years. Both incentives are pending public approval.

The Kansas Department of Commerce committed an additonal $1.06 million in tax incentives and work force training, spokesman Joe Monaco said.

Plastikon, founded in 1982, develops and manufactures plastic products in nine facilities worldwide. It helps customers turn a concept into a product, offering engineering, tool design and build, prototype development, assembly and other services

Read more: Plastikon adds to regional life sciences appeal with 126 jobs, $7M investment | Kansas City Business Journal


d_prowess 3 years, 6 months ago

What I would like to find out is if this business would have considered Lawrence and that location if it wasn't for the "T." A big selling point for the T was so that we could show possible new employers that we have a transportation system that could get workers to them. So it would be curious to see if the company felt that was at all a factor.


Richard Payton 3 years, 6 months ago

The City & County can cover the $6,000.00 a year payment over 5 years to secure jobs that pay well. They make that back in the added revenue the employees spend on goods and services. The Chamber deserves a high five for this great news for the city and county! Read in SFGATE on May 28,2010 that an executive from the White House toured their plant in California.


Bob Forer 3 years, 6 months ago

You cheerleaders just don't listen, do ya? Why give away $60,000 just to be nice. It would not be a deal breaker to politely refuse the grant request. So why do it? Unless, of course, you have 60K hidden in your mattress that you would like to give to this nice company who is here to help naive Kansans out.


Steve Jacob 3 years, 6 months ago

That's great, but the "120" headline is misleading. I bet most businesses hope to hire more over the next three years, but it's just a hope/guess. But 50 right away is still very good.


Noweigh 3 years, 6 months ago

Congratulations to the work by all parties involved in making this happen. Despite the nay-saying and whining of certain groups to keep quality, real jobs and growth out of Douglas County, you have done a great service to the future of the area. A thousand bucks a month for five years to consumate the deal? Worth every penny! Welcome Plastikon.


alfie 3 years, 6 months ago

It's amazing to me how some of you people can always fine something wrong with everything. This is a fantastic great deal for the people of Lawrence


RoeDapple 3 years, 6 months ago

$5.5 million annual payroll for$60 grand worth of workforce training? Hard to find a reason to argue with that!


UNIKU 3 years, 6 months ago

Will the Chamber have cookies and punch at their ribbon cutting????!!!


Bob Forer 3 years, 6 months ago

Tax Abatement and other government incentives are designed to entice businesses who absent the incentive would be unwilling or unable to undertake the proposed project. Sounds like this is a done deal, with or without the $60,000 gift by Douglas County taxpayers.

So my question is why give, especially in financially difficult times, a private company $60,000 when it will have no bearing on their relocation plans.

Yes, they are coming folks, and I doubt the failure to secure a $60,000 gift from a financially strapped county will squirrel a multi-million dollar deal.

To do otherwise will only send the message that Douglas County, Kansas gives away free money, just for the asking, as long as the asker is a muli-million dollar, multi-national corporation.

Kansans, by their very nature, are extremely insecure folks. Enough is enough, friends and neighbors. When are you folks going to realize that one of the reasons behind the relatively recent local population explosion is that Lawrence is very attractive to both people and companies, i.e., they like us, they like us, they like us. So lets quit the foolishness, acknowledge our likeability, and quit trying to buy friends when we don't need to.


Danimal 3 years, 6 months ago

Surely Lawrence or Douglas County will find a way to derail this. We can't have this kind of growth without one of our local developers having their hands in it.


Steve Miller 3 years, 6 months ago

where can i pick up an application ?


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