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Norton Shores manufacturer to invest $2.5M in expansion

Associated Press • Oct 8, 2018 at 11:00 AM

NORTON SHORES – A growing warehouse automation manufacturer will invest about $2.5 million in a briefly vacant industrial building in Norton Shores.  

TGW Systems will move its Norton Shores operations, currently at 6870 Grand Haven Road, (just south of Pontaluna Road) to 1300 E. Mt. Garfield Road in Norton Shores. The building is visible from U.S. 31 and is just south of Sternberg Road.

The move will begin this month, said Alex Ruch, TGW director of human resources. 

The 170,000-square-foot facility was occupied by Wacker Neuson. The company closed the plant in July and moved out of the state, according to a previous news release. 

Austria-based TGW recently purchased the plant and will immediately begin a 20,000-square-foot office expansion to accommodate its engineers and support staff, according to a tax abatement application filed with the city of Norton Shores. 

TGW was attracted the building because it can be expanded to three-times its current size, Ruch said.

The company has been in the area for 37 years and has 260 employees, according to the application. It does not expect to add employees because of the expansion. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Norton Shores City Council approved a 12-year, 50 percent tax abatement related to the $2.5 million project, said City Manager Mark Meyers.  

Even with the abatement, the city initially will receive $6,888 in additional taxes, according to city documents. In the first year, TGW is expected to pay $40,224 in new property taxes to all jurisdictions. 

The investment includes $169,815 in land improvements and $2,346,424 in building improvements, according to the application. 

"It will help offset the cost of the move and the development cost to manufacture equipment that previously has been imported from Austria," the application says of the abatement. 

The company expects to add another 100,000-square-foot manufacturing expansion in the next five years "if the market for warehouse automation remains strong," according to the application. 

The city council also approved a tax abatement transfer for TGW, Meyers said. Wacker Neuson was granted a 12-year, 50 percent abatement 10 years ago when it invested $7.1 million in the property. The remaining two years of the abatement - about a $14,231 discount on city property taxes annually - will be applied to TGW. 

Transferring tax abatements to new owners is common, Meyers said. 

"It still serves as an incentive to remain in the community," he said. "They outgrew their space and could have chosen to relocate elsewhere out of the county or out of the state. This provides an incentive to remain. There's certainly value there." 

As of January, TGW had about 385 employees in West Michigan between plants in Norton Shores and Grand Rapids.  

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