LORDSTOWN - A snag in talks about a land transfer that would be used for a $92 million aluminum billet manufacturing plant is focused largely on surface mineral rights, sources said Monday.
Talks in past months have slowed to a standstill, leaving officials with Ontario-based Matalco so frustrated they have begun to consider looking elsewhere.
Plans for construction of a remelt aluminum extrusion billet facility first came to light in October. The facility would be built along state Route 45 in the Ohio Commerce Center and would create 60 jobs with a $4 million payroll.
But despite numerous state and local incentives to help convince the company to locate here over other sites being considered in Michigan, Indiana and Pennsylvania, the project could be in jeopardy.
Monday, Robert Roscetti, Matalco's director of corporate development, said talks remain in a "holding pattern" with no closing scheduled for the sale. "We are very close to resolving the surface right issue; however, ... the issue is out of our hands and with the owner of the property and the energy company (lessee)," Roscetti said by email Monday.
Despite the stalled talks, Roscetti's outlook appears to have improved slightly from a month ago when he indicated that if an agreement could not be reached with the energy company that holds the surface rights, the company would "most likely look at an alternative site either in Ohio or another state."
Commercial Real Estate Agent and marketer for Ohio Commerce Center Dan Crouse of Routh Hurlbert Real Estate expressed optimism, though, that the issue had been resolved.
"We have come to a verbal agreement on the terms," Crouse said Monday. "I think we have worked through the terms of this thing and it appears to be on track."
Incentives offered to the company that already operates a plant in Canton, include approval for an Ohio Tax Credit Authority for an eight-year, 50-percent job creation tax credit valued at $450,000, a state economic development grant, work force services, on-the-job training assistance from Trumbull County One Stop and a 75-percent, 10-year property tax abatement from the village of Lordstown.
Matalco in August had announced plans for a U.S. expansion. The company produces extrusion grade aluminum billets primarily from scrap aluminum. Its two existing locations serve the U.S. Midwest and Northeast along with Canadian markets.