Company seeks grant for railroad upgrade

LORDSTOWN — A Chattanooga, Tenn.-based company investing $38 million here to remake the former Magna Seating Systems plant into a plastics facility is asking the state for funding to enhance railroad access at the site.

When the Ohio Rail Development Commission meets Wednesday, it will decide on a $100,000 request from M&M Industries Inc., which in December acquired 1702 Henn Parkway to be the company’s fourth manufacturing location in the U.S.

According to the company, the light manufacturing and assembly plant will “manufacture current and future innovations” for M&M. When the site is fully operational, it will employ about 100 workers.

M&M, according to documents from the rail commission, wants to add a rail spur to the building. The facility is served by Norfolk Southern off the Lordstown Secondary, a line that received substantial investment about six years ago.

It was the subject of a $285,000 grant to match the same amount from Norfolk Southern to make sure the line was preserved because then, the railroad was considering discontinuing service on the line, according to the commission.

Because of the economic development potential of the line, the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber had an interest in maintaining service at the site.

“This development is exactly the type of development ORDC and the Regional Chamber wished to encourage with our project in 2015,” commission documents state.

Other project benefits include brownfield reutilization and increased rail traffic, according to the commission.

On-site rail costs are estimated to be $750,000.

The plant at the former Magna is an 81,000-square-foot facility. M&M plans to start production there sometime during the middle of this year, part of the company’s plans to grow in the Upper Midwest. M&M already operates two plants in Chattanooga and a third in Phoenix.

The company purchased the building and 15.5 acres for $5.4 million from Vienna Investments LLC, which had owned it since October 2015, according to the Trumbull County Auditor’s office. The site has a tax value of $4.3 million.

M&M manufactures pails and packaging for pool chemicals, bioscience, laboratory, pharmaceutical, as well as specialty paint and food products. M&M’s other facilities are certified ISO 9001:2015, a voluntary certification for a quality management system.

Magna, which produced seating for the Lordstown-built Chevrolet Cruze, closed in 2019, victim to General Motors’ decision to close its former assembly plant. About 120 employees were impacted.

Meeting date

The Ohio Rail Development Commission will meet virtually 11 a.m. Wednesday. Before the board is a funding request for railroad improvements at a manufacturing site in Lordstown, the former Magna Seating facility that was bought last year by M&M Industries, which makes plastic pails.


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