Caterpillar supplier plans to open in Victoria, bring 30 jobs

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

April 13, 2013 at 10:01 p.m.
Updated April 12, 2013 at 11:13 p.m.

The first parts supplier company to Victoria's Caterpillar plant is expected to open shop in Lone Tree Business Park II.

The company says it will bring about 30 new jobs to Victoria, with the potential for up to 100 production and management positions by full ramp-up in 2017.

Victoria City Council is expected to vote Tuesday whether to lay the groundwork for a tax abatement for Ken Garner Manufacturing Inc. by designating about 16 acres as a reinvestment zone in the second business park on Lone Tree Road.

Victoria Economic Development Corp. President Dale Fowler said this will be the first business to move to the new park.

"We anticipate this to be another good corporate citizen," Fowler said.

Ken Garner, which is based in Chattanooga, Tenn., has a long-term agreement to supply Caterpillar with steel counterweights for the hydraulic excavators that are being manufactured in Victoria. The parts also serve as a ballast for cranes.

The company estimates the first part of the project will invest about $10 million and be completed in late 2014, according to a news release from VEDC.

The rest of the project will invest an additional $4 million, with a target completion date in late 2015.

Fowler said the company is eligible for a six- to seven-year phased-in tax abatement. The abatement would start at 90 percent and phase out to zero during that time period.

He expects that to go before the City Council in a few weeks.

Mayor Will Armstrong said he is excited to bring the new business to town.

"We thought that once we had a major manufacturer on the primary business park that we'd have suppliers," Armstrong said.

While the city and VEDC are hoping for more businesses to move into the second business park, it is not reserved for Caterpillar-exclusive business, Armstrong said.

He pointed to Victoria College's Emerging Technology Center.

"We've got more land available for development," he said.



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