A Florida-based storage products company said yesterday that a package of government incentives has prompted it to build a 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Western Maryland.
The Garrett County facility is expected to employ 600 to 800 people in Grantsville when it is completed within the next five years.
FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's Business section about ClosetMaid's decision to build a new factory in Garrett County reported that the company would spend $22 million for the 74-acre site. The $22 million includes building costs.
The state is providing ClosetMaid, based in Ocala, Fla., with $1 million in work force training and recruitment money. The company is eligible for up to $5.5 million in tax credits through the state's Department of Business and Economic Development "One Maryland" program.
"We would not have seriously considered Garrett County prior to this [One Maryland] initiative," said Rob Clements, president of ClosetMaid.
The company, which is a division of St. Louis-based Emerson Electric Co., said it had considered locating the new facility in Pennsylvania or Ohio.
The One Maryland program provides financial assistance and tax credits in "distressed" areas of the state, specifically Allegany, Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Garrett counties. The unemployment rate in Garrett as of September was 5.9 percent and the rate in Allegany, where many of the new workers likely will come from, was 5.7 percent. The statewide unemployment rate for September was 3.4 percent.
The state also plans to provide ClosetMaid with additional loans - which could be turned into grants if employment goals are met - but officials refused to discuss dollar figures. The additional funding is subject to legislative approval and will not be publicized until lawmakers formally receive the plan, likely next month.
The company will hire about 300 people when the first phase of the project - the 200,000-square- foot facility - is completed this fall. Another 300 to 500 people are to be hired within the next five years as ClosetMaid expands the facility by another 300,000 square feet.
State officials said the jobs will likely pay $7.50 to $13 an hour, depending on skill requirements.
David S. Iannucci, the state's deputy secretary of economic development, said the ClosetMaid deal is not the state's largest in terms of employees or dollars invested, but that its location gives it more importance.
"Given the unemployment there and the effect the 800 new jobs will have, there is no doubt the lives of the community are going to be positively affected for many years," Iannucci said.
ClosetMaid, which makes products such as shelves and hooks to organize closets, is spending about $60 million on the project, Iannucci said - $22 million for the 74 acres of land and $38 million for machinery and equipment.
"Persuading ClosetMaid to build their facility here was an intensely competitive process," said Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, to whom Gov. Parris N. Glendening referred as the "point person" in the deal.