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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014

Plant City factory owner plans $80 million retrofit, 100 new jobs

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PLANT CITY — A company that makes fiber cement siding and interior products has announced plans for adding 100 new jobs as part of a nearly $80 million expansion at its Plant City factory.

James Hardie will double its capacity to produce fiber cement sheets as part of the project, scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2015.

Plant City officials heralded the news.

Mayor Mary Mathis said the “decision to expand in Plant City is a testament to the strong business environment we’ve created.”

James Hardie, headquartered in Ireland, opened its factory at 809 S. Woodrow Wilson St. in 1994. The company plans to convert a section of the 400,000-square foot factory that was used to make pipe into sheet production and add 100,000 square feet to the overall plant.

The company will add new machinery and equipment as part of the retrofit.

The factory will double its workforce from 100 to 200 employees when the expansion is complete. The company is doubling its production to meet increasing demands for its fiber cement products.

The company considered several other Southeast locations.

“This is a big win for Plant City and Hillsborough County,” Allen Brinkman, chair of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., said in a statement.

A company spokesman said there were lot of factors in Plant City’s favor, including its proximity to the Southeast construction market, existing factory and good work force.

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