Archive for Tuesday, October 26, 2010

City fired up for Plastikon proposal

October 26, 2010


Even before the deal has been signed, sealed and delivered, area residents are champing at the bit to apply at a new East Hills manufacturing plant recently proposed by Plastikon Industries.

“We have had tremendous support, and interest, from the community already,” said Beth Johnson, vice president of economic development for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. “We’re already getting a number of phone calls about applications.”

City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting did nothing to dampen the excitement. Commissioners did not officially approve the project, but rather sent it as city code requires to the Public Incentives Review Commission for a recommendation.

But commissioners left little doubt about where they stood.

“I think this is a home run,” said Commissioner Lance Johnson. “I can’t say yes fast enough.”

Company officials also are looking forward. Johnson said after being told of the employment inquiries, the company has set up a dedicated e-mail address and phone line for people interested in learning about the application process for the Lawrence project.

The e-mail address is The phone number is 510-393-7290.

‘Sound like great jobs’

The company announced last week that it had chosen Lawrence over Chicago and South Carolina as the site for a facility that will manufacture plastic vials to be used in health labs across the world.

The project — slated to go in the former Serologicals building in the East Hills Business Park — would employ 50 people initially and a total of 126 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.

“These sound like great jobs, and what is very exciting is that I believe this is the kind of company we’re going to have the opportunity to work with on a regular basis,” said Mayor Mike Amyx.

Kansas City economic development leaders also were at the meeting Tuesday to praise the deal. Bob Marcusse, president of the Kansas City Area Development Council, said Lawrence had become easier to market to biotech companies as the community has moved forward on several projects — including a new bioscience incubator, acquisition of the Farmland Industries property and new research buildings at Kansas University.

Marcusse also said having an available health-related building — it previously was constructed to make a pharmaceutical additive — was important.

“That was a tremendous advantage, and allowed Lawrence to move quickly, which was needed with this project,” Marcusse said.

Incentives packages

The project now will go to the city’s Public Incentives Review Commission on Nov. 3 for a recommendation on an incentives package for the project.

As previously reported, the city and county are being asked to provide about $60,000 worth of work-force training assistance to the company over 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 also 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. The company will not ask for a property tax abatement as part of the project.

Larger incentives are being offered at the state level. The Kansas Department of Commerce will provide about $1 million in tax incentives and work-force training. The Kansas Bioscience Authority also has signed a letter of intent to work with the company on an incentives package that will be brought before the authority’s full board.

City Manager David Corliss said the company has asked the city to issue the Industrial Revenue Bonds by the end of the year. The company hopes to have the plant operational in the second quarter of 2011.


Danimal 7 years, 7 months ago

Wait a minute, this is all going too smoothly. Nothing in this town goes this well and is this well received. Part of what makes me suspicious is Plastikon apparently couldn't put up the $200 necessary to host their own email domain and are using a gmail address.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 7 months ago">p> exists; I imagine someone was given the task of organizing the recruitment of employees, but was not given full access or cooperation from IT, thus they created a simple gmail account.

Bladerunner 7 years, 7 months ago

That's just smart business. Why spend money if you don't have to? Danimal for Congress!

BruceWayne 7 years, 7 months ago

Hack is not involved, but with Core-less and Amyx involved it could still be sketchy.

grimpeur 7 years, 7 months ago

Is this the same Chamber that complained that Lowe's was not allowed to circumvent planning documents? The same Chamber that spreads the drumbeat lies about Lawrence being unfriendly to business? Now trying to take credit? Notice that the Chamber, not Plastikon, made an announcement last week.

Don't break an arm patting yourself on the back. You've done nothing but smear Lawrence's image. Now sit down and shut up.

no_thanks 7 years, 7 months ago

Grimepeur-You may be another anti-chamber nut, but at least get your facts straight. The Chamber was a proponent of attracting Lowe's to Lawrence, and spoke in support of the project, but did not complain about "circumventing planning documents". Nor, does the Chamber spread drumbeat lies about Lawrence being unfriendly to business. The reputation stems from past practices that have led Consultants (Site Selectors) working with prospective businesses to deem Lawrence as being unfriendly to business. The recent commission has helped assuage these Consultants fears and make no mistake about the positive impact that a pro-business commission had on Plastikon's decision to locate here. So, until you get your facts right, maybe you should sit down and shut up. The Chamber, along with City Officials, should stand up and accept our congratulations for a job well done. vocal. I don

ResQd 7 years, 7 months ago

At 45k per year, this is going to draw people as far away as Kansas City and Topeka. If the county and city in Lawrence are going to be providing funds for training and bonds, I say keep these jobs in Lawrence!

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 7 months ago

Apparently "champing" at the bit is even more aggressive of a metaphor than chomping.

/the curse of the non-existent squiggly red line

wmathews 7 years, 7 months ago

"Champing at the bit" is the original form and is the correct phrase according to the Associated Press Stylebook.

I can't link you to the stylebook unless you have a paid account, but here is the same information on wikianswers:

Whitney Mathews Online Editor

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 7 months ago

Well, I am glad that I am in like-minded company. Nothing much of this nature ever goes right in Lawrence. The clueless,spineless, core-less commisioners will find a way to foul this up. Many enterprises have made it known of their "plans" to locate here and create zillions of dollars of tax base and hundreds of jobs only to crash and burn either from their own over-zealousness of the desirability of locating in this bucolic no growth community, or the shifting and cloudy requirements of the local "government" that we are reputed to have. I would warn everyone who is looking for a good paying job that Lawrence is famous for lousing up these deals and I expect nothing better from this one.

Kontum1972 7 years, 7 months ago

u mean they are not using sunflower BB?

thefactsare 7 years, 7 months ago

oneeye - Every time a lot is sold in East Hills, the developers (Douglas County Development Inc) pays the County $3000/acre which is the amount that the County originally paid for the property. It is untruthful for you to say that the County is not being paid back.

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