By Linda Lane
A 30,000-square-foot facility is being built on 14th Street in Schoolcraft to accommodate the growing needs of Metal Mechanics, already located just a block away on Hagar Drive.
Specializing in manufacturing custom trim presses for the metal casting industry, Metal Mechanics serves mostly the automotive industry, but also industries such as lighting, electrical, toys, and other kinds of manufacturers which utilize die casting.
“We may hire up to three more people within the next three years,” Tom Dailey, owner and president of Metal Mechanics, reported. They expect to invest $1.4 million in the project.
Growing from an 18,000 square foot facility, they also need the higher roof expansion, going from a 20-foot roof to a 30-foot roof on one side to accommodate machines which are requiring taller hydraulic trim presses. The goal is to complete the new facility by December.
The site has been approved as a Brownfield eligible plan by both the Kalamazoo County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (KCBRA), Kalamazoo County and the village of Schoolcraft. That means that the increase in tax revenues on the building and property as part of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) are eligible for reimbursement to the owners if the expenses fit the criteria. Rachael Grover, resource coordinator for the Authority, explained to the village council at its August meeting, that much of the cleanup expenses of the site are eligible for reimbursement.
The site was contaminated years ago when the John A. Biewer Company used it for a lumber treatment operation. That left arsenic and chromium from the wolmanizing operation as well as volatile organic compounds in the groundwater from the Arco operation that took place adjacent to the property. To mitigate this contamination a vapor depressurization system has been installed under the floor of the new facility. There has also been demolition and removal of concrete materials at the property.
It is estimated by Grover that these eligible activities may amount to about $163,935 over a period of several years. They have also been awarded an 11-year 50 percent tax reduction by the village of Schoolcraft.