HAZELWOOD – A British automobile manufacturer – Emerald Automotive – plans to put down roots in north St. Louis County. The endeavor could create work for hundreds, potentially thousands.
Emerald Automotive wants to build a plant that could directly employ up to 580 people, plus another 400 suppliers, by 2015.
Company Board Member Sharon Heaton told KMOX that the plant will build “advanced technology, low emission fleet vehicles for commercial delivery companies. We’ll be exporting those to Europe and other places and we expect we’ll be developing a market in the United States as well.”
The Missouri Technology Corporation has approved a two million dollar loan, and the Hazelwood City Council is providing the same amount from its economic development sales tax.
Emerald initially looked at 25 possible locations around the country. She says incentives and the quality of the local work force helped them narrow the list of potential sites down to one: Hazelwood.
“Absolutely superb, coordinated effort by everyone within Missouri, from the politicians, the RCGA, the unions, the councils, and everyone really came together.” CEO Andy Tempest says.
Heaton says if all goes well, Emerald will begin hiring soon.
“We will actually begin doing a modest amount of hiring in 2012. We will be hiring a larger number of people in 2013 and expect to be at about 300 people by the end of 2013.”
The company’s first client is European and has committing to buy “thousands” of vans – that client is England’s postal service, which was looking to replace its fleet of 40,000 vans.
Heaton says the vehicles retail for $15,000 more than the conventional diesel van, but will more than pay for themselves over four years.
The grounds of the old Ford plant in Hazelwood is one of the sites being considered for the plant.
Added RCGA President Dick Fleming: “We’re pleased that they’ve planted the flag here in St. Louis.”
Adapted from a post at scanews.com