Lawrence City Commission to consider tax break for manufacturer’s $5M expansion
photo by: Chad Lawhorn
City leaders will soon decide whether to provide a property tax break to a Lawrence manufacturer with plans to expand its operations.
Grandstand Glassware & Apparel is planning an approximately $5 million expansion at its East Hills Business Park location. At its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will consider providing Grandstand a 50 percent property tax abatement for 10 years on the expansion project, with the potential to have a 70 percent abatement if the building is constructed to certain energy-efficiency standards.
Grandstand, which manufactures decorated glassware, apparel and promotional products, needs additional warehouse and manufacturing space because of increasing product demand, according to a city staff memo to the commission. Grandstand President Chris Piper recently told the Journal-World that the company is preparing for what he thinks will be an expanded market interested in glass as well as the startup of its own in-house promotions agency that focuses on serving the craft beer industry.
Piper started the company in 1988, and the company now has more than 200 full-time employees and an annual payroll of about $9 million, according to the memo. Since 2011, Grandstand has increased full-time employees from 45 to 218, and the company’s revenues have increased 375 percent, according to a letter from Grandstand to the commission.
Grandstand is proposing an approximately 112,000-square-foot expansion of its facility at 3840 Greenway Circle. The company projects the warehouse expansion will add at least 50 jobs over the next 10 years.
Grandstand is requesting the property tax abatement under the city’s Catalyst Program, which will mean a simplified review process and a quick turnaround for the request. The City Commission created the program last year, and in addition to a simplified application process, the program provides free land for industrial projects that want to build or expand facilities in VenturePark, East Hills Business Park or other industrially zoned land.
Grandstand’s is the third project to seek incentives under the Catalyst Program. The other projects included an expansion of Plastikon Healthcare LLC plant, also in East Hills, and the construction of speculative industrial buildings in VenturePark.
Construction on Grandstand’s expansion will be on company-owned land and is estimated to begin in early 2019 and be completed by the end of the year.
The City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.