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4B group backs eChem expansion

By AUSTIN KING/The Lufkin News

Members of the Lufkin 4B Economic Development Corporation have worked out an agreement with American eChem Inc. to offer to the Lufkin City Council January.

During a closed executive session Tuesday, members took time to discuss an incentive package for Project Shower — a proposition to help American eChem Inc. expand in Lufkin.

According to the company’s website, eChem is a chemical manufacturer with facilities in Lufkin and Leeds in the United Kingdom. It is part of the Faci group, which manufactures metal soaps and esters at locations in the U.S. and U.K. as well as Italy, Spain, Singapore and China.

Lufkin City Manager Keith Wright said the Lufkin facility is the company’s only location in North America. He explained eChem studied their options for expansion, including relocating, before ultimately deciding to expand in Lufkin.

“We worked hard with offering them various incentives to make this work out,” Wright said. “What they’re proposing in our agreement is a minimum of an $8 million investment.”

The agreement calls for a minimum capital investment of $8 million from eChem to the City of Lufkin by no later than Dec. 31, 2028.eChem must also create at least 25 new, full-time job opportunities in Lufkin.

“We feel, and the company feels, they will exceed that minimum,” Wright said.

Four thousand dollars per employee, up to a maximum of 50, is included in the proposed agreement as an incentive for eChem to create and fill the new positions. Economic Development Specialist Lauren Stacy said the salary for the jobs is expected to average between $35,000 to $45,000.

“We have said with our agreement we will incentivize up to 50 new full-time jobs,” Stacy said. “So we’re looking at $4,000 a job that we will give to encourage them to keep on hiring. We will incentivize up to 50, but there’s a minimum of 25 they must reach within this 10 years.”

The agreement also proposes eChem will purchase 23 acres of land. Further, Wright said the city owns land adjacent to eChem’s location on Kurth Drive, which the agreement proposes the city convey.

“The city owns a little property out there adjacent to them that we’re going to convey as part of a grant,” he said.

Following the executive session, members of the board agreed to propose the plan to Lufkin City Council on Jan. 19.

“We’re very excited that we’re going to see these new jobs, this new investment added to our tax base,” Wright said. “There also will be a tax abatement for a 10-year abatement associated.”


Posted: Wednesday, December 20, 2017 12:30 am | Updated: 9:34 pm, Wed Dec 20, 2017

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