Manufacturer to bring 175 jobs to Belen - Albuquerque Journal

Manufacturer to bring 175 jobs to Belen

Two million dollars in Local Economic Development Act funding has drawn an international plastics manufacturer to Belen and created 175 new jobs, Gov. Susana Martinez announced today.

Keter Plastics, part of the Keter Group, will invest $36 million to expand and renovate the facility formerly occupied by Solo Cup. The new positions will include manufacturing, production, technicians, engineers, and managerial jobs, according to a news release.

The Valencia County News-Bulletin reported in November that the Belen City Council approved up to $40 million in industrial revenue bonds in an attempt to lure what was then an unnamed plastics manufacturer. The city later offered up land and water rights, as well.

Gov. Martinez said New Mexico beat out California, Arizona and Nevada for the deal.

“This is great news for Belen and yet another positive result from fighting to grow and diversify our economy,” Martinez said. “On the heels of projects like Keter, Facebook, and others, we need to keep fighting for the bold reforms and critical tools that help us create more jobs — like our tax cuts and our closing fund.”

The state’s economic development incentives could be in jeopardy as lawmakers attempt to close a $69 million budget gap for the current fiscal year and expect $300 million less in revenue next year. LEDA, the state’s closing fund, currently contains about $36 million. Facebook received $10 million in LEDA funds to build a new data center in Los Lunas.

Economic Development Secretary Matt Geisel said the Keter project “shows what happens when we work together to make New Mexico more business-friendly.”

As part of the project, Keter will acquire an additional 14 acres to add the 25-acre property and expand the existing 165,000 square-foot building by at least 60,000 square feet. The company said in the release it will use Belen’s railways to ship products like patio furniture and outdoor sheds to large retailers such as Home Depot.

“Keter’s decision is great news for small businesses and the residents of Belen and Valencia County, as the company’s new jobs, payroll and purchases will give a much needed boost to the area,” said Gary Gordon, chair of Albuquerque Economic Development, Inc, in a statement. “The company’s selection of New Mexico over other Western states is the latest example that the legislative improvements made to tax policy and incentives, over the past few years, are working.”

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