Archive for Thursday, August 31, 2000

Company shows interest in purchasing Communicolor building

August 31, 2000

A German manufacturer is considering coming to Eudora and in the process bringing 185 jobs with it.

On Monday, the Eudora City Council heard a presentation by HP Pelzer Automotive Systems. The company expressed a desire to purchase the R. R. Donnelly building, which formally housed Communicolor. Communicolor moved its operation earlier this month from Eudora after 10 years of business.

HP Pelzer manufactures insulation, trim and carpet for automobile manufacturers such as General Motors, BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler-Chrysler. An international operation, it has plants in Asia, North and South America with annual sales of $500 million. The company would cater to GM and Ford plants in Kansas City, Mo., which is why it is considering Eudora for its next plant.

"The main reason for coming to Kansas we want to be near those plants," said John Casey, vice president of manufacturing for the company. "We hope to have a good future in this part of the world."

Teresa O'Byrne, director of planning and business development for the company, said it would like to begin the process of purchasing the building soon. She said the company could move into the building in by January is tax abatement issues can be resolved quickly. She did not disclose what percentage tax abatement the company is seeking.

"We would like to move as soon as possible," O'Byrne said. "The proposal of tax abatement is high on our agenda."

Tom Pyle, council member, voiced concerns of giving tax abatements to a company, which then leaves after its abatement period is up. Casey said starting a plant of this type is too expensive for changing buildings every 10 years. Of all of their plants in the world, not one has been closed, he said

"We haven't closed plants, Casey said. "We're not in the business of closing plants. We're here for the long haul to be quite honest."

Council President Rex Burkhardt asked how many of the 185 jobs would be offered to Eudorans. Casey said he would expect 95-98 percent of the employees would be from the local area.

"Normally, no matter what part of the world we go, we employ local people," Casey said.

The council approved a motion to set a public hearing on the purchase of the building for Sept. 11.

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