Business

ATI announces $70 million expansion in Union County

From left to right: Chris Platé Executive Director, Monroe Union County Economic Development, North Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary John Skvarla, Rich Harshman, ATI President and CEO, Hunter Dalton, executive vice president of ATI’s Specialty Materials group.
From left to right: Chris Platé Executive Director, Monroe Union County Economic Development, North Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary John Skvarla, Rich Harshman, ATI President and CEO, Hunter Dalton, executive vice president of ATI’s Specialty Materials group.

Specialty materials and component producer Allegheny Technologies Incorporated, Union County’s largest private employer, announced plans Tuesday for a $70 million expansion of its facilities in Monroe.

The project could bring 70 new jobs to Monroe, according to county and state officials.

The Pittsburgh-based company is one of the world’s largest specialty materials and components producers, focusing on aerospace, defense and the oil and gas process industry, among others. ATI leads its aerospace business at the Monroe facility. That’s also where the company deals with blended titanium alloys for defense and aerospace projects.

Union County economic development leaders and ATI officials had worked on the expansion project for months, under the code name “Project PIPE.” Monroe competed with sites in Georgia, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, according state and Union County economic development officials.

ATI leaders made the announcement at the International Paris Air Show in France. Chris Platé, Union County economic development executive director, and N.C. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla also were at the show.

ATI could receive up to $2.73 million in a cumulative incentive package from Monroe, Union County and the state.

The company plans to build a new building in Monroe as the main part of the expansion.

That new building will come on 57 acres of land worth about $1.1 million that the city of Monroe is giving ATI. Union County agreed to chip in a $1.49 million performance-based grant in April.

Platé said the expansion could create about 70 jobs that pay $60,000 or more, according to Union County commissioners meeting minutes.

Platé said while ATI plans to build only one new building immediately, the extra land "gives them more land to continue to grow on."

Kim Genardo, spokesperson for the state commerce department, said the One North Carolina Fund contributed $140,000 as part of the incentives package. She said the money from the state is contingent on the creation of those 70 jobs over three years.

“It’s a win for North Carolina and we're proud of keeping and expanding an existing business,” Genardo said.

ATI’s expansion comes at a time when state lawmakers are grappling over how best to manage the state’s incentives program. Also, South Carolina’s aggressive use of its own economic development programs has lured companies across the border. The Palmetto State most recently beat out its northern neighbor for a new Volvo manufacturing facility that will employ thousands.

However, ATI officials praised the North Carolina business climate as a major reason for the expansion.

“The positive business environment and employee work ethic in the region were key factors in the selection of Union County for the expansion,” CEO Richard Harshman said in a statement.

“Our confidence in North Carolina is validated by our investment that now exceeds $300 million dollars during the last decade.”

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