Deal will bring 171 new jobs to Butler County aluminum manufacturer

Magnode Corporation is bringing 171 new manufacturing job to Trenton with the help of the Butler County Port Authority. STAFF FILE PHOTO
Magnode Corporation is bringing 171 new manufacturing job to Trenton with the help of the Butler County Port Authority. STAFF FILE PHOTO

The Butler County Port Authority approved a new development deal with aluminum manufacturer Magnode that provides a sales tax exemption on construction materials for a new $28.4 million addition that will bring 171 new jobs.

Butler County Development Director David Fehr told the Journal-News the exemption is worth about $924,223 on sales tax for construction materials to the company that is building a 317,000-square-foot addition to the aluminum manufacturing facility on Kennel Road in Trenton. The port will collect a $161,739 fee for services.

“They do a lot of work in the automotive industry and they found this is a very good location to expand their facility,” Fehr told the port board members. “In the current economic environment the building costs have increased, just availability of building supplies and materials have increased, labor shortages, so it makes building a new building challenging that’s why they’re coming to the port authority for some assistance.”

Construction is expected to start in the third quarter and take a year to complete. The current facility has 196 employees who earn on average $60,012 and the expanded plant will create 171 new jobs paying an average annual salary of $68,030.

“That’s well above what the median income is for Butler County so we’re raising the bar on wages,” Fehr said previously. “That was real exciting for us, so $68,000 on average, some people are even making more than that for the new positions, that’s really strong for manufacturing.”

ExploreButler County manufacturer adding 171 jobs with major expansion

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority also awarded Magnode a nine-year 1.811% Job Creation Tax Credit for this project which is worth around $1.4 million, according to the state development department. Magnode is a division of Shape Corporation which is a global tier-one automotive supplier. The new investment is estimated at $56.4 to $72.6 million.

Mark Butterfield, managing director for Magnode, told the port authority board this location is an important cog in the larger operation.

“The intent of this facility is to be our center of excellence for aluminum, we have a very strong reputation in our industry and we’re expanding on that,” Butterfield said. “It’s also going to be our global aluminum tech center so all of the development of aluminum for our organization will occur at this facility as well. As result of that it will offer a very diverse offering of positions for this facility.”

Trenton’s Economic Director Jim Foster said the city is giving the company “a rather substantial reduction in the price” for a 50-acre parcel in the industrial park to build the expansion. The city will also be contributing to a new street to the east of the facility for truck access and the widening of Kennel Road.

The only concern voiced by the port board came from board member Robert Schmidt, who also sits on the board of the Southwest Regional Water District.

“I’m a little bit concerned about any potential release of any hazardous material as a result of this manufacturing process and the safeguards that are contemplated to be taken to safeguard the underlying groundwater,” Schmidt said. “In particular of course I’m referring to the aquifer.”

Butterfield said they have been operating their facility for 70 years and “have a very strong track record” in the way they have operated and are taking even more precautions with the expansion.

“Our track record supports our approach relative to the environment and protecting in how we operate,” he said.

Foster said Magnode has always been a very responsible corporate citizen and while standards were different when the plant opened decades ago, the company has worked with the city in “every single way” when changes have been required. Plus there are levels of review at the city and county level before building permits are issued and ongoing monitoring.

“We have every confidence that everything is going to need to be done to protect the aquifer and surrounding operations...,” Foster said. “This is going to sound selfish but we take water out of the aquifer, we sell it to people, it’s important to us to make it good.”