Schenectady County

British firm picks Burdeck Street building

A British specialty paper manufacturer announced Tuesday it is relocating its U.S. headquarters and

A British specialty paper manufacturer announced Tuesday it is relocating its U.S. headquarters and consolidating operations in a vacant industrial warehouse in Rotterdam.

Techfibers Inc. chose the site at 679 Mariaville Road for its operations after significant growth in the past few years prompted the company to seek a location where it could easily expand. And the Rotterdam site is in the midst of a growing technological, educational and industrial region ripe for the company to draw on, officials said.

The move will create 30 jobs in the area, including hourly manufacturing positions, chemist and research positions and administrative positions, said Schenectady County spokesman Joe McQueen. The company declined to release expected salaries for the jobs.

“It will really run the gamut,” McQueen said, “and they will be hiring as many local people as they can.”

The company is owned by England-based James Cropper PLC and is one of the world’s largest specialty papers and advanced materials manufacturers. It’s been in operation since 1845. Its main manufacturing subsidiary, Electro Fiber Technologies LLC, creates metal-coated carbon fiber products that are sold to the automotive, rail, aerospace, marine, electronics and defense industries, among others. Some of its customers include 3M, Lockheed Martin and United Technologies.

The Metroplex Development Authority has worked with Techfibers Inc. for the past eight months after it heard the company was looking at communities that would be ideal for relocation.

“We showed them a number of buildings in the community and they liked that building,” said Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen of the 52,000-square-foot building in Rotterdam, located in the Burdeck Street Business Corridor near the interchange of I-88 and I-90.

The building has been vacant for nearly five years, after its former tenant, Vstream Manufacturing, liquidated in March 2007. The site has room for expansion on about 12.5 acres and parking for 135 cars, which county officials said was a draw for Techfibers.

The company signed a 10-year lease with an optional five-year extension and an option to purchase the building, which is currently owned by Douglas Zak, president of Zak Inc. in Green Island. The entire relocation process could take up to 18 months but McQueen said manufacturing operations should be under way by May and the site is expected to be fully operational by fall.

The company’s sites in England will remain, but its U.S. headquarters and subsidiaries will be relocated to Rotterdam. These include Technical Fibre Products Inc. in Newburgh, Electro Fiber Technologies LLC in Stratford, Conn., and Metal Coated Fibers Inc., in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The company’s 500 percent sales growth the past few years set the stage for its move to Rotterdam.

“They indicated that right now the other facilities are very small and do not have the ability for growth,” said McQueen. “So they knew they were going to have to consolidate the facilities into one location to better service their supply chain.”

Techfibers considered sites in Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut and received help from real estate service CBRE, which coordinated the site selection process.

“We have been especially impressed with Schenectady County’s business-friendly initiatives and New York state’s commitment to develop a world-class technology center in the region,” said George Quayle, director of James Cropper PLC, the company’s owner, in a news release issued Tuesday.

“We believe that the region’s technology base, both industrial and education, provide possible business synergies, as well as a population to draw talent from,” he said.

Techfibers will make an initial $3 million investment into the relocation. Metroplex is providing a $100,000 grant toward project costs, which mostly include building upgrades, Gillen said. The vacant site had been shown to a number of different companies over the past five years, he said, but the county had wanted the building to be used for technology and manufacturing purposes.

“We were looking for a company just like this,” said Gillen. “They have tech, R&D and production. So this was a good mix of work for our county.”

McQueen said he was at the site Tuesday as office equipment was being delivered and unpacked. In addition, the entire production floor in the warehouse has already been redone.

“Right now the facility is really just a big, open shell,” he said. “They’re ready to bring in all the equipment. There’s room to expand, but what they liked about the building is sometimes as a company you have to be ready to go and ramp up additional business quickly. So this gives them right off the bat that additional space.”

James Cropper PLC announced the investment and relocation last week to the London Stock Exchange, where the company is publicly traded.

Categories: Business

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