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$260 million recycled paper facility planned for Valparaiso

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Updated: October 19, 2013 7:14PM



VALPARAISO — Pratt Industries, a recycled paper and packaging company, announced Tuesday it will invest $260 million to build a recycled-paper facility next to its existing Porter County box-making plant.

The new facility will occupy a 250,000-square-foot building on a 50-acre site in Valparaiso off Indiana 49 and is expected to produce 360,000 tons of recycled paper each year once it reaches full capacity.

“This $260 million investment is, we believe, the single largest private investment in Valparaiso’s history,” Mayor Jon Costas said.

By 2018, the company expects to have created up to 137 new jobs, with 104 of those are planned to be at the new site. Gary Byrd, president of Pratt Industries, said these jobs will include paper machine operators, equipment operators, shipping representatives, waste yard personnel and maintenance.

Hiring is expected to begin late next year, and construction on the facility is scheduled to start in March. The facility is expected to open in July 2015.

“This new facility will allow us to better service the needs of our expanding customer base, not only in the Midwest, but throughout the United States,” said Anthony Pratt, owner and chairman of Pratt Industries. “And Indiana is a perfect fit for us.”

Valparaiso was chosen after a thorough search to consider the new plant location, ranging from more than 100 locations across the country, narrowing the search to 25 cities in five states. The three finalists were two locations in Indiana and one in Ohio.

Byrd said a number of factors were considered in choosing Valparaiso, ranging from the current 500,000-square-foot corrugated plant to rates offered on utilities and wastewater.

NIPSCO has offered about $15 million in energy and infrastructure incentives to help secure the project.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. also offered Pratt Industries up to $1.2 million in performance-based tax credits, and $200,000 in training grants. The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority also pledged $1.4 million from its Deal Closing Fund.

Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., said the announcement shows the state is a prime location for business expansion.

“We view businesses as our customers,” Doden said, “and it is our goal to try to create an environment that they can thrive in.”

Mayor Costas said he has tried to keep the City Council informed of the process and expects a swift approval process to help the company open the facility by July 2015. A number of public hearings and meetings to receive necessary approvals will be scheduled.

He also said Pratt has been a good corporate neighbors since opening a facility in Valparaiso 13 years ago.

“We’re really happy with the results currently,” Costas said. “This is going to also impact a number of other industries, such as construction and shipping, which is hard for us to quantify at the moment.”



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