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Pratt to start building paper recycling plant in Valpo

At Tuesday's groundbreaking Pratt Industries displayed this renditiplanned $260 milli250000-square-foot paper recycling mill. | James D. Wolf Jr./For Sun-Times Media

At Tuesday's groundbreaking, Pratt Industries displayed this rendition of the planned $260 million, 250,000-square-foot paper recycling mill. | James D. Wolf Jr./For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 20, 2014 6:37AM



VALPARAISO — As warm weather thawed the soil Tuesday, Pratt Industries broke ground for a paper recycling plant.

Besides being the biggest investment a company has ever made in the city at $260 million, the 250,000-square-foot building will stand out in other ways.

“Welcome to what will be the most technologically advanced, environmentally friendly, 100-percent recycled paper plant,” said Anthony Pratt, chairman and chief executive of Pratt Industries, who flew in from Australia for Tuesday’s ground-breaking.

Construction will begin this year, with the projected opening in July 2015. The plant that will recycle paper for Pratt’s existing corrugated cardboard box factory, 3155 Indiana 49, which was built in 2000.

Valparaiso was one of 35 municipalities across the United States vying for plant, but the company’s initial feeling that Valparaiso was the best spot was right, Pratt said.

He also mentioned Gov. Mike Pence as he gave his address to the crowd, thanking him for low taxes and Indiana’s friendly business environment.

“There’s a sense of optimism in the state,” Pratt said.

The new plant will add at least 100 full-time jobs when it opens, bringing to about 500 the number of Pratt workers in Valparaiso, including those at the box factory. Pratt said the plant’s construction would employ 1,450 people.

“This is the kind of day mayors dream for, such an investment in the city,” Mayor Jon Costas said, adding that Pratt is the biggest employer in Valparaiso. “The greatest impact is the people who will find jobs and raise families in this area. This is job creation on steroids here, and that’s why we’re celebrating.”

Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., talked about how Pence’s administration is trying to improve the business climate in Indiana.

“We appreciate it when we get rewarded this way,” Doden said.

To attract the plant, the IEDC offered Pratt up to $1.2 million in performance-based tax credits and $200,000 in training grants. NIPSCO offered about $15 million in incentives, and the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority pledged $1.4 million.



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