Lawrence City Commission to consider incentives for manufacturing plant with 80 jobs
photo by: Mike Yoder
City leaders will soon decide whether to provide tax breaks to a manufacturing plant that wants to bring 80 jobs to Lawrence.
As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will consider an incentive package application from the Kansas City, Mo.-based company U.S. Engineering Metalworks. The company has filed plans with the city to build a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on an approximately 25-acre site at Lawrence VenturePark, the business park on the eastern edge of Lawrence.
U.S. Engineering Metalworks would be the first to locate a business in the park, which opened in 2014. The company has applied for incentives under the city’s Catalyst Program, which provides a fast-track application process for industrial projects that want to build or expand facilities in VenturePark, East Hills Business Park or other industrially zoned land.
The company has requested a property tax abatement, sales tax exemption and free land for the project.
The tax abatement would be for a 10-year period that could range from 50% to 70%, depending on whether the facility is built to certain environmental standards, according to its application. The company is requesting industrial revenue bonds, which would allow it to obtain a sales tax exemption on materials for the $15-million project. The company is also requesting that the 25-acre site be provided for free, which is another element of the Catalyst Program.
The estimated land value for the parcel is $669,070, according to a city staff memo to the commission. As part of the agreement, the company will take over payments for VenturePark special assessments on the parcel, estimated at $484,282. The company will also be responsible for their portion of special assessments related with a new benefit district that will be established to bring water and sewer services to the site and build a cul-de-sac.
U.S. Engineering Metalworks stated that it anticipates about 80 people initially working out of the Lawrence site, and that it expected that number to grow to about 140 within five years. There are no wage or salary requirements for the jobs with the Catalyst Program. However, Assistant City Manager Diane Stoddard told the Journal-World via email that it is the city’s understanding that the company is going to speak about to the commission about wages as part of the meeting Tuesday.
As the Journal-World previously reported, the company indicated in the information it filed with the city that it builds a variety of complex pieces of equipment for the heating, cooling and plumbing industries. The manufacturing process involves sheet metal work, welding, cutting, pipefitting and the use of high-tech equipment.
The Lawrence City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.