YORK — Silcotech, a Canadian-based silicone injection molding company, broke ground Wednesday on a $3.5 million plant at the East York Industrial Park.
The cold weather made it difficult to turn the ceremonial first shovel of dirt but the site off Park Place Road had already been cleared of trees and and larger equipment was moving dirt on the land which slopes to Fishing Creek.
Silcotech has an aggressive timetable to open its 19,000 million-square-foot facility. The company hopes to be making parts for the medical industry manufacturers by September or October.
Silcotech plans to open initially with about 10 workers and expand to 50 within the next five years, said vice president Isolde Boettger.
Finding the right site for its first U.S. plant took Silcotech two years. Company president Michael Maloney said sites in Vermont and North Carolina were considered before deciding to build in York County. Even then it took time as the company considered sites in the Waterford and TechPark business parks in Rock Hill, “but couldn’t make them work,” he said.
Even the decision to locate in the East York Industrial Park was fluid. The company finally decided on the corner of Park Place Road and Timber Land Court because of access to a water main. Construction of a water main at a different site would have cost about $150,000, said Mark Farris, York County director of economic development.
Nonetheless, Silcotech got the best available site at the park, said R. Marc Howie, vice president for the York Electric Cooperative. The cooperative owns the 465-acre park. About 150 acres remain for development, Howie said.
Howie said several factors helped finalize the deal – the cost of the land and the cost of utilities. The per acre price was slightly less than $3,000, he said. Access to water and electric service was were factors, officials said.
Howie said the benefit to the cooperative is getting a customer that will purchase power at off-peak hours.
Mahoney said the ability to expand was also a factor. The company purchased 15 acres but is only using a small portion of the site for its new building. The ability to train workers through York Technical College was also a plus, he said.
The state’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved a grant of $160,000 to Silcotech. The York County Council has approved a fee-in-lieu agreement to reduce the company property taxes by 43 percent over the next 30 years.
York Mayor Eddie Lee said the widening of S.C. 5 through the “Pennies for Progress” road construction program, was also a factor in Silcotech’s decision to locate near York. The road work was the final piece of the puzzle that makes the East York Industrial Park an attractive option for companies looking to locate or expand in York County, he said.
“This is now the new frontier of economic development,” Lee said.
Don Worthington • 803-329-4066