Updated: Warren County lands auto supplier

MORRISON – A Michigan-based automotive supplier is building a 120,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Warren County, as the community continues to target the still- growing automotive sector.

DN Plastics, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., is a plastic compounding company that makes products for mostly tier 1 and tier 2 automotive suppliers. The site for the new plant is just on the outskirts of the Mt. View Industrial Park in Morrison. The 20 acres front Highway 55/Manchester Highway and allow for access to the Caney Fork & Western Railroad on the west side.

The project, besides being a win for the community and region, also means a $10 million investment, the addition of a new infrastructure in a rail spur, and ultimately, 100 jobs for the community.

“We, for a long time, wanted to expand south, because most of the auto industry is moving that way: Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, Toyota,” DN Plastics vice president Raj Agrawal told the UCBJ.

“The economic incentives are very good in the state, and people are friendly to work with.”

Agrawal said his company is targeting the end of May for completion of the building. Operations could start in June or July.

George Burke, director of economic development for the McMinnville- Warren County Industrial Development Board, said they were waiting on permits to begin grading at the greenfield site; ground was expected to break in late January. Another requirement is a rail spur to facilitate the delivery of raw materials. The industrial development board received a $450,000 grant from the state of Tennessee to cover a bulk of that cost and will be adding another $84,000 in local funds, he said.

Tax incentives were also offered over a 20-year period.

“The ability to provide rail to the plant was one of their factors in locating on that site and locating in Morrison,” Burke said. “We paid for a few (other) things to get the project within a budget that the company was willing to expense.”

Burke said the investment tops $10 million: roughly $4 million for the facility and around $6 million for equipment. DN Plastics will lease the building once complete with an option to buy.

Initial employment will be around 30 jobs and will build up to 100, a “conservative five-year projection,” Burke said. The company has taken part in at least one area job fair in November.

The announcement comes at the heels of another automotive supplier addition. Late last year, Sansin, a Japanese automotive supplier, finalized a deal to move into a speculative building, also in the Mt. View Industrial Park in Morrison. Its addition will mean 150 jobs for the community.

As far as the upcoming spike in automotive jobs in Warren County, Burke says it’s an industry they’ll continue to target.

“Certainly yes,” he said. “That seems to be where a great deal of the expansion in manufacturing is right now in conjunction with the growing automotive industry in the Southeast.”

Liz Engel is the editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. She can be reached at liz@ucbjournal.com

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