NORWALK, Ohio — A German auto-parts supplier is coming to Norwalk with a promise of at least 230 jobs, a major win for a city still grappling with job losses from the Great Recession.
Borgers AG, a family-owned firm that specializes in automotive trim and sound-deadening insulation, plans to spend $60 million to build a 160,000-square-foot factory in Norwalk’s Firelands Industrial Park.
“It’s absolutely huge for our community,” Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan told The Blade. “We’ve taken a hit and lost a lot of jobs since 2008. It’s a great opportunity for our community.”
Mr. Duncan said the development will be the first new factory built in Norwalk in several years.
A ceremonial ground-breaking is expected next month, with construction getting under way soon thereafter. Mr. Duncan said the new factory is scheduled to be finished and in production by February or March.
Norwalk is in Huron County, about 60 miles southeast of Toledo.
The state estimates the new factory will generate $8.3 million in annual payroll.
Norwalk will be the company’s second U.S. location. Borgers already has an operation in Vance, Ala., where it does sequencing work for a nearby Mercedes-Benz assembly plant.
Officials with JobsOhio, which announced the project on Monday, said Borgers recently secured supplier contracts with auto manufacturers in the Midwest and was looking for a Midwest location to open a few factory.
Mindy McLaughlin, manager for foreign direct investment at JobsOhio, was part of a small contingent that traveled to Germany in November in an attempt to lure the company to Ohio. After the meeting, JobsOhio assembled a list of possible sites across the state.
Ms. McLaughlin wouldn’t say what other Ohio cities were in the running, but said Borgers ultimately chose Norwalk over an Indiana location. Officials cited Norwalk’s work force, as well as its location.
“I think they felt like logistically, Norwalk was the best of both worlds,” she said. “It was between Michigan and northeast Ohio, and right on I-80.”
Also helping to draw the company to Ohio were tax credits.
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority on Monday approved a 55 percent, eight-year job creation tax credit for Borgers. The city of Norwalk also offered local tax incentives, including a tax abatement for the school district.
Mr. Duncan said Norwalk also offered deep discounts on passes to the city’s rec center for new Borgers employees.
Calls and emails sent to Borgers’ Alabama office weren’t returned Monday. However, in a statement, company president and CEO Werner Borgers praised Norwalk.
“Norwalk is a great location regarding logistics as it relates to our Midwest customers, and the labor force is exceptional and highly motivated,” he said.
“In addition to that we feel that there is a great emotional fit between the people in Norwalk and the values and characteristics of our family business. We are very excited about becoming part of the Norwalk community, and we look forward to starting the project soon.”