Fifty new jobs, $45 million investment coming at Guardian

The code name “Project 1036” is no longer necessary after today.

Chester County, Governor Nikki Haley and the South Carolina Department of Commerce have announced that Guardian Industries Corp., a manufacturer of glass products, will expand its float glass operations in Chester County. The expansion will mean a $45 million investment and is expected to generate 50 new jobs.

In October of last year, Chester County Council had its first discussion of “Project 1036.” A resolution, which was passed unanimously, read in part “The County will enter into a fee-in-lieu of tax and incentive agreement in connection with the expansion of certain manufacturing facilities in the county (the ‘Expansion Project’). The county to covenant in such agreement to accept certain negotiated fees-in-lieu of ad valorem taxes with respect to the Expansion Project (filot payments); certain special source credits against the filot payments with respect to the expansion project.”

The resolution further stated that the benefits of a multi-county park would be made available to the company.

Chester County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey said having a Guardian Plant in Chester County did not automatically mean it was going to be the site of the expansion.

“We were not the only pick in that deal,” Roddey said. “There was a lot of competition. We were lucky to win that one.”

Tom Wunderlich, plant manager of the Guardian Industries Corp. facility in Chester, said the county was a great partner.

“We are pleased to be able to expand our operations in South Carolina. Chester County has provided us with an excellent business environment and strong workforce and we are excited about increasing our presence here. Demand for our company’s products is on the rise and our Chester County plant plays an important role in our overall operations.

The plant will be installing an advanced technology coating machine that will enable the facility to produce highly energy-efficient glass for residential and commercial buildings. The energy-efficient glass for homes is known as ClimaGuard ®. The commercial application is called SunGuard ®. Guardian, located at 610 L&C Railway Distribution Park in Richburg, is headquartered in Auburn Hill, Mich with leading positions in float glass, fabricated glass products, fiberglass insulation and other building materials for commercial, residential and automotive applications and, along with its subsidiaries, employs 18,000 people. The company has nearby plants in Greer and Winnsboro.

Haley said in a release that she “couldn’t be happier” for Chester County and said this was an example of a commitment to bringing investment and jobs to the state.

“We’re going to celebrate this kind of investment and expansion at every opportunity because of what it says about our great state: that our commitment to making South Carolina the most competitive state in the country for business development is paying off,” she said.

State Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said in a release that this “is another sign our state provides a strong foundation for success and helps businesses prosper.”

The announcement did not go unnoticed in Washington. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham called the expansion “the type of investment that helps make the U.S. less dependent on foreign energy sources” while 5th District Congressional Representative Mick Mulvaney said “private investments like this are exactly what our district needs to come back from such a deep recession.”

Both said they were happy to see jobs created, as was Roddey. When the resolution was first approved in October, the number of jobs created was pegged at “at least 40.” Roddey said the expansion was great, but the most important factor was the new jobs.

“If it was one, it would be one more than we had,” he joked. “This is really a big deal.”

Karlisa Parker, director of Economic Development for Chester County, said a lot of work from a lot of people went into making this happen. She said today is a big day for Chester County.

“Encouraging new jobs and investment in our county is vital to the CCED’s mission statement,” she said. “It is especially gratifying when the new jobs and capital investment are from an existing industrial partner that continues to Choose Chester, for both business and life.”

By Travis Jenkins, Staff Reporter with The News & Reporter