The Dallas, Texas-based company ATI Inc. has confirmed its plans to expand the plant in north Richland where it melts titanium for aerospace and defense productions.
And the multimillion-dollar project, which is expected to come online next year, is the first in the state to be granted a property tax exemption for manufacturing under a new incentive program.
The program aims to encourage manufacturers to build or expand in urban areas.
“Twenty-five years after the Richland facility was first commissioned, it’s exciting to expand our presence there,” said Bob Wetherbee, ATI Inc’s board chair and chief executive officer, in a statement. “We appreciate the region’s strong support and are honored to be the city of Richland’s first recipient of the manufacturing property tax exemption.”
The city said in its own statement that it’s “proud to collaborate with ATI on this valuable program and (we) are eager to proceed with future opportunities.”
Karl Dye, president and chief executive officer of the Tri-City Development Council, or TRIDEC, added that, “this not only helps the city, but it helps our entire region be competitive on a national scale with recruitment of manufacturing jobs.”
ATI confirmed the Richland expansion plans in an announcement on July 19, the day after the Richland City Council approved the company’s application for a Targeted Urban Area tax exemption. The TUA program, adopted by the state Legislature last year, is meant to help communities bring in living-wage jobs by enticing manufacturers to urban areas.
Companies that build or expand within a targeted area get a break on city property taxes on new improvements for 10 years. Their projects must meet certain qualifications, including that they’re valued at $800,000 or more and create at least 25 family living wage jobs.
Richland’s Targeted Urban Area — designated by the city council earlier this year — includes the Horn Rapids Industrial Park and land around the Richland Airport.
ATI’s Richland plant is at 3101 Kingsgate Way in the Horn Rapids Industrial Park.
The company plans to add three new buildings at its 100-acre site there and create 93 new jobs as part of the expansion valued at $111 million, according to information from the city.
About 100 people work at the plant now.
ATI was considering expanding in North Carolina, but the TUA program drew it to Richland, the city said. The city estimates it will waive $2.6 million in property tax revenue over 10 years.
ATI said its Richland expansion will increase production of aerospace and defense-grade titanium by about 35% over the 2022 baseline levels, helping support the $1.2 billion in new sales commitments the company announced in June. “The expansion is projected to be online by the end of 2024, with product qualifications occurring in 2025,” the company said.
With the expansion, “we’re essentially doubling the capacity of this operation and upgrading its capabilities to deliver the high-quality premium materials our customers value,” said Kim Fields, ATI president and chief operating officer, in the statement.
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