DAP to bring 110 jobs to city Big adhesives maker shifting 2 divisions to American Can plant

October 18, 1997|By Sean Somerville | Sean Somerville,SUN STAFF

DAP Inc., a Dayton, Ohio-based adhesive manufacturer, said yesterday that it will move its corporate headquarters and research division to the old American Can Co. plant, a move that will bring more than 110 jobs to the Canton landmark.

John McLaughlin, the company's president, said DAP was attracted to Baltimore largely because its airport has far more daily flights than Dayton's.

Moreover, the company will have access to Washington's airports.

"It's an international business," McLaughlin said. "We travel both domestically and internationally.

"And travel has become more and more difficult."

DAP's move to Baltimore bucks a trend of manufacturers'

reducing jobs or fleeing the city.

Within the past year, the Stroh Brewery Co. and London Fog have closed plants in Baltimore.

McLaughlin would not say exactly how many Baltimore jobs would result from the relocation.

The two divisions in Ohio employ about 150 people.

McLaughlin estimated that the divisions would employ between 110 and 150 in Baltimore when the company moves next spring.

He also said it's not clear how many DAP employees would move from Ohio.

The move will put DAP's headquarters and research and development office closer to a DAP plant in Sparrows Point that employs 160 workers.

McLaughlin praised Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke for their cooperation in helping the company with the move.

But he declined to discuss economic incentives, saying that details are being worked out.

With or without help

"We would have come with or without" help from the local and state governments, he said.

"But they've both been helpful in the whole process."

Officials from the Baltimore Development Corp., the city's economic development agency, were not available for comment.

Darlene Frank, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Business and Economic Development, also declined to comment the deal.

"We're still in negotiations with them, so we can't say anything," she said.

The size of incentives generally depends on government negotiations with the employer and on the number of jobs being created or brought into the state.

Recent beneficiaries of Maryland's "Sunny Day" incentive fund include John H. Harland Co., which got a $1 million grant for adding 250 jobs to Anne Arundel County; and the Cosmetic Center, which received a $1.05 million package, including a $600,000 grant, for 168 new jobs in Howard County.

DAP, the nation's leading manufacturer of adhesives, sealants and other home improvement products, has nine U.S. factories and one in Toronto.

The company, a unit of British conglomerate Wassall PLC, employs about 750 people. Last year, it had sales of $213.4 million.

The search for a new headquarters was prompted by the company's desire to unite its research division, in Dayton, with its headquarters about 10 miles north, in Tipp City.

The company, looking for locations with a comparable cost of living, considered sites such as Dallas, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

"It quickly came down to Baltimore," McLaughlin said.

Familiar with area

He said the company was familiar with state economic officials because of expansions at its Sparrows Point plant.

"In addition to air service, we needed to get in a community where we thought it would be easy to recruit people," he said.

"Baltimore came up as a natural choice."

McLaughlin declined to identi- fy an average salary for the DAP jobs, saying that they would range from about $20,000 to six figures.

"Most of these are professional jobs," he said. "We have management jobs and research jobs and chemists.

"These aren't hamburger flippers."

The company plans to lease about 40,000 square feet in one of the five buildings at the site of the old American Can Co. at 2400 Boston St.

"American Can's proximity to [Interstate] 95 and downtown Baltimore and its waterfront location make it a superb location for us," McLaughlin said.

He added that the site "creates a terrific work environment with soaring spaces and marvelous historic character."

Plans for the complex

Can Co. LLC, an associate of Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse, has a contract to purchase the former American Can Co.

The company plans to preserve the buildings on the site, giving the complex a strong link with the area's industrial past.

During a groundbreaking ceremony last month, the developer of the rehabilitation project said it would be home to an emerging technology center to help launch new businesses.

DAP, which has a 10-year lease, will be the first major company to rent office space at the property.

"It's a big commitment for us," McLaughlin said.

Pub Date: 10/18/97

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