Apogee Picks MN Over GA for $30M Plant Investment

Local incentives, including a reported $4.9 million tax incentive package, helped lure an investment that city and state officials believe will help retain about 1,200 jobs in Owatonna.

Bloomington-based Apogee Enterprises, Inc., the parent company of glass manufacturer Viracon, announced Monday that it has picked Viracon’s Owatonna plant over one in Statesboro, Georgia for a planned $30 million investment.
 
Apogee announced last month that it would make an investment in one of the two plants; the company said at the time that it was “pursuing state and local support for both locations” and comparing the cost and benefits of each location.
 
Company spokeswoman Mary Ann Jackson told Twin Cities Business on Monday that the incentives the company was offered in Minnesota played a key role in its decision to invest here. Jackson declined to reveal what those incentives are, but the Star Tribune reported that the City of Owatonna offered the company a $4.9 million tax incentive package.
 
The company said that the Owatonna facility has Viracon’s “most extensive product capabilities and deepest team of technical talent” and is centrally located for serving the company’s primary North American market—factors that also played a role in its decision to invest in the Minnesota plant.
 
The investment will result in an 18-month project starting in April that will involve expanding the facility and adding new equipment, which will allow the factory to produce new types of glass. Jackson said the company might hire a “handful of engineers” to help with the new equipment and technology, but she wouldn’t disclose how many or reveal when they would be hired. Apogee currently employs about 1,200 at the Owatonna plant—which represents about half of the company’s total work force.
 
According to a Star Tribune report, city and state officials believe that even if the investment doesn’t add new jobs, it will help ensure that the company retains its Owatonna employees.
 
Viracon’s glass has been used in buildings such as the recently-rebuilt World Trade Center and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which is among the tallest buildings in the world. Local structures adorning Viracon-made glass include the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
 
“Strengthening the competitive positioning of our leading Viracon brand is key to Apogee’s growth strategies,” Apogee CEO Joseph Puishys said in a statement. “The new investment in Viracon-Owatonna . . . [allows] us to enhance Viracon’s product capabilities while improving productivity.”
 
Apogee is among Minnesota’s 40-largest companies based on revenue, which totaled $662.5 million for the fiscal year that ended in March.

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