Plant could bring 350 jobs Modular-home maker due to settle purchase of town site this week

April 13, 1997|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

A Delaware modular-home builder expects to complete this week the purchase of a plant in New Windsor, which could bring 350 jobs to Carroll County.

MISTCo, a new corporation based in Greenwood, Del., is meeting with the plant owner tomorrow and expects to settle on the purchase of the site on Route 31. The Carroll facility would be the company's first plant.

The purchase, reportedly for about $5 million, could bring jobs paying $9.50 an hour. MISTCo's owners envision a three-shift operation that would manufacture several hundred homes a month. The homes would be shipped by rail and then overseas through the port of Baltimore.

The company, about a year old, has several contracts in other countries and by early this summer hopes to be shipping completed houses that include all amenities from carpeting to plumbing and light fixtures. It plans to ship 200 homes to South Africa by June.

"Negotiations are going extremely well," Elwood A. Tazewell, MISTCo's president, said Friday. "We have completed the financing arrangements and are expecting a letter of intent from the bank."

Taneytown Bank & Trust Co. is handling the application for the loan, 90 percent of which is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Tazewell said.

"A deal of this magnitude takes time to negotiate," said New Windsor Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. "But we know the bank is working with Mr. Tazewell, and everyone involved is optimistic."

Work with railroad

The availability of railroad transportation to shipping terminals in Baltimore was a deciding factor in choosing the New Windsor site, said Tazewell, who wanted assurances that the modular homes could go directly from the plant to the port.

Maryland Midland Railway Co., which operates a line from Washington County to Glyndon in Baltimore County, would be able to meet MISTCo's needs if the railway is successful in its efforts to buy or lease 25 miles of track to the port from CSX Corp.

"We could certainly transport the units for them," said Paul D. Denton, Maryland Midland's president. "CSX services the main terminals and has a lot of expertise. They could do it as well."

Maryland Midland said it might be willing to give CSX the use of its lines in New Windsor if the local railroad got support for its plan to expand west to Hagerstown and south to Baltimore.

Denton said he was involved in a three-way conversation last week with CSX and the Maryland Department of Transportation officials. The "very preliminary discussions" centered on how best to serve MISTCo, he said. "We would do it all the way or let CSX come onto our lines," Denton said. "We don't have a deal at this time, but we are working to structure a way to deliver the containers and take back the empty ones."

Denton called MISTCo "a fantastic piece of business" for the railroad, the port and the county.

Benefits to town

News of the potential move has spurred much local interest. People are calling town offices looking for information on jobs, Gullo said.

"The benefits for New Windsor would just snowball," said Gullo. "It would bring jobs, housing, the railroad and side industries here."

The town -- Carroll's smallest, with a population of about 900 -- is "playing a supportive role, showing MISTCo what we can do for them," Gullo said.

Gullo said New Windsor's newly adopted master plan might have swayed the company, whose officials also visited several other Maryland sites and plants in Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina.

"The master plan shows what we want New Windsor to look like in 15 years," said Gullo, adding that Tazewell was impressed with the town's economic development plan.

Pub Date: 4/13/97

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