A taker for Seco facility?
Stephanie Myers News-Herald.net
One industry may soon be replacing an outgoing manufacturer in Lenoir City, bringing with it about 60 jobs.

Loudon County Economic Development Agency President Pat Phillips said Wednesday that the manufacturer, an existing food and beverage manufacturer looking to relocate from the East Tennessee region, should make a decision within the next 30 days. The EDA has not disclosed the manufacturer’s name. The deemed “Project Elvis” company is looking to relocate to the existing Seco Tools facility, located at Industrial Park Drive.

“We’ve had three significant closings in the last couple years — Yale, Seco and Maremont. I didn’t feel that we needed to have another empty building in Fort Loudoun Industrial Park in Lenoir City,” Phillips said. “The company had been looking and heard about the building and thought the building would work well for them.”

Lenoir City Council on Monday approved a five-year, 50-percent tax abatement for Project Elvis, with an annual lease payment of $33,614 for both real and personal assets.

“It is envisioned that they would be up and running sometime in the latter part of this fall or somewhere around October, November of this year,” Phillips said to council, adding that the EDA has been working on Project Elvis for “several months.”

“I feel like it’s important to bring some new jobs into the community. To move the city forward I think we need to adopt this resolution,” councilman Jim Shields said.

Phillips said the company is looking to expand the Seco facility, adding about 40,000 square feet, and plans to employ 60-65 full time positions.

“As I’ve mentioned the existing company does have a workforce in place, but there will be an additional job creation, somewhere around 10, 15,” Phillips said.

According to the city’s resolution approved Monday, the in lieu of tax payments shall begin Jan. 1, 2015.

Seco Tools announced in March last year that the Lenoir City production would be relocated to other facilities after declining demand was coupled with excess capacity among its global operations, an announcement that impacted 74 jobs. The Lenoir City facility produces milling cutters, turning tools, indexable insert drills and custom tooling solutions.

The Seco closure came soon on the heels of longtime employer Yale Locks & Hardware closing up shop at its Lenoir City operations and taking with it more than 200 jobs from the community. Parent company ASSA ABLOY announced in March 2012 that local operations would be relocated to Berlin, Conn.

The more than 200,000 square-foot vacant facility is listed for $3.4 million through commercial real estate company NAI Knoxville.

“Right now, we don’t have any projects considering the Yale building,” Phillips said.

Maremont, an aftermarket manufacturer of exhaust products operating since the early 1950s in Loudon, has closed up shop in Blair Bend Industrial Park in Loudon after announcing its closure in September of last year. The company lost its biggest customer to a competitor and in turn 150 local jobs were lost. Earlier this year, tile-manufacturer Del Conca brought in 100 jobs to Sugarlimb Industrial Park, with 78 more jobs to be added.

“... There is no time line for that, but we suspect within the next three to four years or less,” Phillips said.

The 600,000 square-foot Maremont manufacturing and distributing facility is currently undergoing touch ups, such as light painting for marketing purposes, and is listed at $7.8 million, Phillips said.

“We have submitted it, the Maremont building on a couple projects recently one — actually one today we met with a company, and we’ve got one potentially coming in to look at it in the next few weeks we believe, but nothing firm yet,” he said.