While one industry has apparently at least postponed an expansion in Terre Haute, another is moving forward with plans to build a second plant.
Chicago-based GATX Corp. announced in 2017 a $38.5 million investment in its operations at 4400 Maple Ave. Officials said it would be the company’s only full-scale rail car service center in the Midwest and the fourth largest in the nation. Plans called for an estimated 55 new employees by December 2020.
The City Council approved $3.9 million in property tax abatements for the project but compliance documents filed last week list the actual investment as just over $7 million and the number of new employees as eight. The documents also say 19 jobs have been retained, four fewer than the number estimated.
GATX officials did not respond Wednesday to messages seeking comment.
Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp. said it is “our understanding” the expansion has been postponed.
“But we haven’t heard anything, officially, from the company,” Witt said. “It was always our understanding that the proposed expansion was contingent upon final approval at the corporate level.”
The expansion would have been on top of “significant investments already made at the local facility,” he said.
“Even if the company does not pursue the most recent proposed expansion, there is no question that the company has already grown its Terre Haute maintenance operation considerably over the past several years,” Witt said. “We remain grateful for GATX’s presence in our community.”
Under terms of the abatements, GATX would receive tax breaks only if it invested the amount indicated and added or retained the number of employees it projected.
Pyrolyx set to grow
Pyrolyx USA broke ground in 2017 for a $25 million plant to harvest carbon black and other materials from scrap tires shredded elsewhere and shipped to Terre Haute.
The company says that plant is now expected to start production in July or August, a bit later than stated earlier this month. The facility is already touted as the largest of its kind in the world and the German-American firm is moving ahead with plans for a second facility.
Pyrolyx filed a petition May 17 seeking about $2.3 million in property tax abatements over 10 years on planned investments totaling $41 million. The company would still pay an estimated $1.8 million in taxes during the period.
Pyrolyx said a new 60,000-square-foot facility would be slightly smaller than the one about to open and would result in 50 new jobs with total payroll of $2.5 million.
The petition says the project will “have the potential to solidify Terre Haute as the center of carbon black extraction on the North American continent.”
Pyrolyx received abatements totaling about $1.4 million on a nearly $25 million investment in its first plant and stands to pay $1.7 million in taxes.
Recently-filed compliance documents say that, as of Jan. 1, the company had hired 17 employees toward a projected workforce of 55 at the first plant. However, Chief Executive Officer Tom Redd said recently staffing is now nearly complete.
Targeted completion date for the first plant is now Aug. 21. It had originally been expected to be in operation by Jan. 1. Both plants will be at 4150 Steelton Ave. in Fort Harrison Business Park.
Pyrolyx supplies material to tire manufacturers and plastics plants. Each of its Terre Haute facilities would process about 13,000 tons of material per year from 4 million scrap tires. Company officials last month signed a letter of intent to supply up to 15,000 tons of carbon black annually to tire maker Continental AG from its plants in Terre Haute and Germany.
The Terre Haute City Council is scheduled to take up Pyrolyx’ tax abatement request at its June 6 meeting, when it will also consider whether Pyrolyx and GATX are in compliance with terms of their 2017 abatements.
Dave Taylor can be reached at 812-231-4299 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TribStarDave.