IRRR Board to consider major expansion projects at October 11 meeting

Leveraging over $13 million; supporting the creation of 80 new jobs

October 09, 2012


EVELETH, Minn.— Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich today announced that funding for two major development projects will be considered at the IRRR Board meeting on October 11, 2012 in Eveleth. The projects involve the expansion of well-known companies, Louisiana Pacific Corporation (LP), a leading manufacturer of building products, and Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing DMR (DMR), a local company that designs, manufactures and remanufactures industrial electronic components and wiring harnesses for trucks, buses, trains, and heavy equipment.

Nashville, Tenn.-based LP is seeking a $2 million loan for its $7.05 million expansion in Two Harbors, Minn., where the company has manufactured siding since 1985. The proposed project entails a comprehensive rebuild of the existing press at the plant, which will add two flights to the press. The expansion is expected to significantly increase LP’s resource utilization from its current levels of approximately 80,000 cords of wood annually to approximately 100,000 cords annually, while decreasing plant production costs, Not only will the expansion create 17 new jobs and retain 112 jobs, but also will result in increased activity in the logging and transportation industries.

Sertich said, “A few weeks ago, Governor Mark Dayton and I had the opportunity to meet with loggers in Grand Rapids, and we heard firsthand of the urgent need to put more timber on the market. The LP expansion is a positive step in the right direction for the logging industry. This expansion will not only create jobs at the Two Harbors plant, but the investment will also help support logger's jobs, too."

The Chisholm Hibbing Airport Authority (CHAA) is seeking a $2.5 million loan to build out the airport speculative building in Hibbing for occupancy by DMR through a lease agreement. The IRRRB provided a $1.625 million loan to the CHAA for construction of the speculative building in 2006. The current project will accommodate a planned expansion by DMR. The company, which continues to add international customers, is currently pursuing a $6 million manufacturing opportunity that will not fit in their existing Hibbing facilities and anticipates the need for 40,000 square-feet of additional manufacturing space. The airport site will allow for the anticipated expansion, which is projected to create 50 new jobs within the next three years, while retaining 97 jobs.

“One of my goals has been to fill the Hibbing spec building,” said Sertich. “I am pleased that DMR, a successful, local company that is busting at the seams in its current facilities, will be able to thrive in this customized space.”

In other business, a $60,000 loan to the Virginia/Eveleth Economic Development Authority (VEEDA) will be considered. The project will support the expansion of Premier Plastics into the Progress Park building, where the company plans to enter into the windshield market for motorcycles, boats, UTVs and ATVs. The total project investment is $310,000. This expansion is expected to create up to five new jobs, while retaining 29 jobs.

The IRRR Board also will consider a $285,000 grant to the City of Keewatin for infrastructure and site work to accommodate the expansion of Pro Blast Technology Inc. The total project investment is $2.9 million. Pro Blast expects to create eight new jobs, retain five jobs, and create 13 construction jobs as a result of this expansion.

In addition, a $1.14 million Taconite Economic Development Fund request for a United States Steel – Keetac project will be considered.

IRRRB is a state economic development agency headquartered in northeastern Minnesota whose mission is to promote and invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota.