May 23, 2019

Lemforder deal to be discussed> Brewer expansion expected to result in more than 100 new jobs

BREWER — City councilors Tuesday will consider the city’s role in a proposed multimillion-dollar expansion expected to result in more than 100 new manufacturing jobs.

Economic Development Director Drew Sachs and Mayor Donna Thornton said earlier that the city is working out an arrangement with Lemforder Corp. aimed at helping the German-based auto parts manufacturer resolve a space crunch, while creating new jobs for the region and boosting the city’s tax base.

Under the arrangement, the city would obtain a 20-year bond to construct a 50,000-square-foot facility on city-owned land on Stevens Road, which is located in Brewer’s East-West Industrial Park.

Lemforder would then move its logistics functions, which include shipping and receiving and inventory storage, into the new building. Lemforder currently has to rent space for some of those activities, according to city officials.

The company then would use the newly freed space at its 116,000-square-foot manufacturing plant for an investment of $10 million in new precision manufacturing equipment. The company expects to add 106 employees as a result of the project.

The project, as well as a proposed amendment to the city’s 1997 tax-increment financing agreement with the company, will be the subject of a public hearing during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

The amendment would add to the 1997 TIF agreement — which paved the way for a $24 million investment by Lemforder two years ago — at least $10 million in new investments the company plans to make here in the near future.

The TIF district also would be expanded to include additional areas, both within Lemforder’s existing plant and in the proposed new facility.

The city’s five councilors are slated to vote on the matter later in the meeting. Because the project is on an agressive schedule — participants hope to start construction this fall — the council order to that end includes an emergency preamble that would make it effective immediately upon passage by a council majority.

The arrangement also is subject to approval from the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

In a related measure, the councilors will consider borrowing up to $2.5 million to finance the logistic facility’s design and construction. The construction project would be handled by the Brewer Development Corp. The vote on the bond also includes an emergency preamble.

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