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Janesville manufacturer GOEX planning new plant, new jobs

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staff, Gazette
March 8, 2013

— A Janesville manufacturer is moving forward with plans for a new facility on the city’s north side that would retain 128 jobs and create 63 new ones.

GOEX plans to move from Foster Drive to a new 161,000-square-foot facility on the south side of Highway 14 at Newville Road. The new plant is expected to cost about $13 million.

The move to a new plant would more than double the company’s capacity. It also would make the GOEX facility on Foster Drive available to Prent Corp. next door.

Prent is the parent company of GOEX and a growing global leader in custom thermoform packaging with facilities around the world.

GOEX is an industry leader in extruding a variety of resins into custom rigid plastic sheet and roll stock. It has posted double-digit growth in each of the last 10 years but is landlocked and needs to expand.

GOEX President Josh Gray said construction should start in the late second quarter or early third quarter of this year. The building will be situated on the lot to maximize space for future expansion, if needed.

“We think that it will take all of a year to build out,” Gray said.

Construction will be followed by a systematic relocation from Foster Avenue that won’t affect customers.

Gray said the company expects to add 63 jobs in the next several years.

“We’d love to add 100, but we have to control our growth, and that will take some time,” he said.

The new site will give GOEX the advantage of rail service.

The company plans to get its raw materials by rail, an important consideration because GOEX buys in commodity markets that are often driven by pennies, Gray said. Rail shipments are expected to provide savings that are important to the company’s continued growth, he said.

In 1999, GOEX bought about 24 acres along Highway 14 for an expansion that never happened.

Last fall, it signed a one-year option with Rock County to buy an additional five acres at $46,000 per acre. The extra land is needed for infrastructure right-of-ways, and Gray said that option would be exercised in coming months.

At its meeting Monday, the Janesville City Council will consider an application for a state Department of Transportation grant to pay for traffic signals at Highway 14 and Newville Road, a frontage road, a railroad spur to a Union Pacific line, sidewalks and street lights.

The state grant would cover half of the $1.1 million total cost, with the remainder—$560,000—coming from the city’s tax increment financing district in which the project is located.

In addition, the TIF would pay nearly $63,000 to extend sanitary sewer to the site, which is not an eligible expense in the state grant, and $97,000 in borrowing costs.

Vic Grassman, the city’s economic development director, said the state Transportation Economic Assistance grant is critical to the project because TIF 21 was created in 1999 when GOEX bought its 24-acre parcel.

Because the original expansion project didn’t materialize, the property has been empty and hasn’t generated enough property taxes to pay the full $1.1 million cost of infrastructure improvements, he said.

“That’s why getting 50 percent of the cost through the grant is so important,” said Grassman, who noted in a memo to city council members that the GOEX jobs start at between $13 and $16 per hour and many workers earn between $20 and $25 per hour.

Gray said the project is exciting for the company and its employees.

“Sometimes you have to remind yourself to stop and enjoy it,” he said. “It’s hard when you’re matted down in meetings about it all the time. We’ve continued to cram all we can into our existing facility, and we’re looking forward to getting into the new facility with some more breathing room and opportunities for efficiencies.”



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