KEDFA OKs plans for jobs projects

Two well-known businesses in the Bowling Green area may get bigger.

The General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant and Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC will benefit from preliminary approval of tax-related incentives approved Thursday by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.

KEDFA gave preliminary approval for a 50 to 75 percent reduction in state and local property taxes on a 300,000-square-foot warehouse distribution center that NorthPoint Development of Kansas City will build at the Kentucky Transpark entrance.

NorthPoint would lease the warehouse and distribution center to GM, according to KEDFA documents. GM would use the facility to house various suppliers.

KEDFA also gave preliminary approval for $2.2 million in tax incentives to Kobe Aluminum for a possible $51.3 million expansion of its plant. A plan calls for increasing the full-time workforce from 500 to 629.

In the NorthPoint project, Warren County Fiscal Court plans to authorize the sale of up to $18.3 million in bonds that would have a 20-year term, according to information in the KEDFA application. Seventy-five jobs with an average annual salary of $55,000 would be created when the distribution center opens.

The NorthPoint investment is $29 million, and the project is expected to be completed by July.

“NorthPoint’s development in the Kentucky Transpark is part of a strategic supply chain project that will work to further strengthen Warren County’s position as a pillar in the automotive and motorsports industries,” said Ron Bunch, Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer.

NorthPoint’s industrial portfolio includes developments in Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Tennessee, Indiana, Florida, Michigan and Kentucky. Some industrial clients include Amazon, UPS, Magna, GM, Kubota and Flexsteel, a chamber news release said.

The new jobs at Kobe, which were formally announced Friday afternoon by the governor’s office, are expected to have an average hourly wage and benefits of $27. The company at 525 Central Court in southern Warren County is part of the Kobe Steel Group, which is known internationally by the KOBELCO brand.

KAAP began production in Bowling Green in 2005 and has served the aircraft and automotive industry in Japan since 1937.

The planned expansion includes purchase of new equipment to capture additional business. The cost of building improvements is $11.7 million and equipment purchases are estimated at $31.4 million with other startup costs pegged at $8.2 million.

The project is expected to have an economic impact of $280 million over the next 10 years.

This project will increase production capacity by the addition of two new forging presses, one heat treatment line, one etch and penetrant line, one melting furnace, one casting line and two machining lines. Construction is anticipated to begin next month.

“This expansion by Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products is a shining example of growth among advanced manufacturers in Kentucky,” Gov. Matt Bevin said in a press release. “Since establishing its Bowling Green plant in 2004, KAAP has proven itself an excellent corporate partner in the commonwealth’s automotive industry. We are grateful for the company’s dedication to the state and are excited to see this remarkable success continue.”

Build-Ready sites announced by chamber
In related business news, the local chamber on Thursday announced two Build-Ready-certified sites have been approved by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, according to a news release.

Both sites have a 108,000-square-foot graded pad and are eligible for immediate expansion. Each site is located less than one mile from Interstate 65. The two sites join an existing Build-Ready site and a 108,000 square-foot speculative building at the Kentucky Transpark.

The Build-Ready program allows for accelerated project timelines for companies seeking new location opportunities.

“Build-Ready sites are important for companies working with a quick timeline,” Gary Dillard, chairman of the Intermodal Transportation Authority, said in the news release.

“In that situation, the decision to expand in South Central Kentucky versus another market could be swayed by how quickly the company can break ground and begin operations,” Dillard said. “This project makes the Transpark even more competitive in the site selection process than ever before.”

In addition to the building pads available on each site, all utilities are available to, or line, each property. Lot 12 is 20 acres and Lot 10 is 14.8 acres, and both include building plans approved for up to 207,000 square feet. Lot 10 is one of three rail-served Build-Ready sites in Kentucky.

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