Warren lands pair of auto suppliers

MORRISON – A Michigan-based automotive supplier is building a 120,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Warren County, a project that comes with a $10 million investment, the addition of a new rail spur, and ultimately, 100 jobs for the community.

DN Plastics, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., is a plastic compounding company. George Burke, director of economic development for the McMinnville-Warren County Industrial Development Board, said the particular product they’ll be making will be used by VIAM, a tier 1 automotive supplier in Manchester, to make floor mats and other parts for Nissan vehicles. The site the company chose for its 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 Railroadon the west side.

Burke said they’re waiting on permits to begin grading at the greenfield site. 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. The building is expected to be finished at the end of May, according to one news report.

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 local 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.”

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