Plastics container-maker ramping up production
Publication date: 11/09/92 – Source: Times Online
Article Title: 
Plastics container-maker ramping up production

Polycon Industries' last lines set to start up this month, employing 175

MERRILLVILLE -- Financial incentives, a strong labor market and lower utility costs lured a long-time Chicago manufacturer to Northwest Indiana.
Polycon Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of Crown Packaging International, has left Chicago after a 50-year presence and set up shop at 8919 Colorado St. in Merrillville. The company makes plastic bottles and containers used in the food, beverage, personal care and chemical industries.
Crown Packaging International, which produces rigid containers, will remain in Chicago.
The Colorado Street plant, which was designed and built to Polycon's specifications, has 170,000 square feet of space and lots of room for expansion, said Dennis Tilles, Polycon Industries president. The company invested $10 million in its new facility.
Tilles said the new space will allow Polycon to increase its customer base and raise revenues an estimated 50 percent in the next few years.
The Merrillville plant has been operating for the past two months, although not all 17 blow molding lines used to manufacture the plastic containers have been moved from Chicago. The new plant also has five printing lines used to silk-screen and produce labels for the plastic bottles and containers.
When the last seven lines are moved within the next 30 days, the Merrillville site will employ 175 people, the majority of whom are Indiana residents.
Employees of Polycon's Chicago plant won't move with the company to Indiana and are receiving job-placement help from a city of Chicago program for displaced workers, Tilles said.
One reason for the move was the lack of space for expansion at the aging Chicago facility, Tilles said. The search for a new corporate home began four years ago.
Tilles said Northwest Indiana won out because of "the proactive approach taken by local and state officials to provide incentives." These included a 10-year tax abatement Polycon received from Merrillville and grants provided by the state of Indiana. The company received a $40,000 state grant for training employees and a $400,000 grant for infrastructure completion.
In addition, Northwest Indiana has an "accessible labor force, attractive electrical power rates, workman compensation and access to major highways," Tilles said.
Polycon Industries may be the first of many light industrial plants to build in what is known as the Colorado corridor, about one mile south of U.S. 30, said Dennis Lasser, president of Commercial In-Site, Inc. The Merrillville-based commercial real estate company represented the buyer and seller in the Polycon transaction.
The Colorado corridor was created in the early 1990s when the town of Merrillville rezoned 1,500 acres for light industry. Until Polycon's purchase of 20 acres for its new facility, the only company in this rezoned area was NSU (Nakagawa Sangyo), a company that manufactures auto parts. NSU expanded into this area from its plant at 8300 Colorado in 1991, Lasser said. However, the company has been served by a septic system rather than sewers.
When Polycon indicated interest in this Colorado corridor, sewers were a necessity because of the company's infrastructure requirements, the Realtor said. The Merrillville Conservancy District extended the sewer lines to service this 1,500 acres, and the MCD annexed the corridor as part of its conservancy district.
"Now the area is ready for development with all utilities," Lasser said. "It should grow much more rapidly."

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