A New Jersey-based firm is moving its North American headquarters to Lawrence’s East Hills Business Park, and will be creating 17 new high-level jobs in the process.
API Foils — a company that makes the shiny foils used on greeting cards, high-end labels and other packaging — announced Thursday that it will move its corporate offices to its existing Lawrence production plant by June.
“It is a wonderful move because it helps solidify API’s presence in the community,” said Beth Johnson, vice president of economic development for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. “When you think of being home to a company’s headquarters, you know the company really has a strong interest in your community.”
API, which has been in Lawrence since 1995, has 52 employees at its plant at 3841 Greenway Circle. The 17 new positions will be a mix of transfers and hires from within the community, Johnson said, although an exact split isn’t yet available.
An average salary for the new positions also isn’t yet available, but many of the positions are expected to be above $50,000 a year, and will include the company’s chief executive officer, chief financial officer and various assistants. With the new additions, the average wage for all positions at the plant is expected to hit the $50,000 a year mark, Johnson said.
The company is making the move without a tax abatement or other financial incentives from Lawrence City Hall. The company, Johnson said, is receiving incentives from the state of Kansas, including various tax credits, training assistance and participation in the state’s PEAK program, which allows companies to retain up to 95 percent of the state payroll withholding tax on eligible employees.
An attempt to reach a spokesman with API on Thursday was not successful, but the company’s president and general manager said in a statement that several factors led to the company deciding to move its headquarters to Kansas.
“The Kansas business-friendly environment is very refreshing,” said Brad Mueller, president and general manager of API Foils Americas. “The skill and dedication of our workforce, the attractive cost profile, coupled with its central geographic location, make Lawrence an ideal location for our continued growth.”
Johnson said the project likely will involve a bout $200,000 worth of construction work at the Lawrence plant to accommodate additional office space.
Johnson also said the move may be a good sign that the company strongly will consider Lawrence for future production expansions. The company in 2007 qualified for a tax abatement for a planned $17 million expansion of its Lawrence production plant. But as the economy soured, the expansion — which was scheduled to add about 30 jobs — never happened and the company did not finalize the tax abatement process.
“Lawrence already is where they make a lot of their product, so this gets us excited about what this could lead to in the future,” Johnson said.