A well-known building on I-75 will soon be alive with 100 new jobs, $26M investment

An Italian company that manufactures automated vertical storage and retrieval systems will invest $26.5 million in a new manufacturing and logistics hub in Warren County, officials announced Tuesday.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine made the announcement Tuesday at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, an event aimed at promoting foreign investment in the United States. He was joined by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, JobsOhio President and Chief Investment Officer J.P. Nauseef and Antonio Pagano, the CEO of Modula, Inc., which will locate its second U.S. plant in a building once occupied by Cox Media Group Ohio’s Print Technology Center at 5000 Commerce Center Drive in Franklin.

“We are a great place to do business,” DeWine said at the summit. “We’re a great place to start a business …. we want the world to know that Ohio has so very, very much to offer.”

The investment will mean 100 new jobs for the southwest Ohio region.

Pagano said Modula picked the location because it provides the opportunity for future expansion opportunities that will boost its manufacturing capacity and because it’s close to customers. Its other U.S. location is in Maine, DeWine said. The company also has production plants in Italy and China.

Ohio is “the best place to be right now in terms of logistics, in terms of all the services the state can give us and the workforce, which is highly skilled … it’s a very nice building, and it’s going to be our icon in the state of Ohio and the United States as well,” Pagano said.

Ross, too, applauded the announcement.

“You’re welcome here and your company is welcome here,” he said.

Modula is experiencing growth worldwide with a pace of almost 25 percent year-over-year in the last five years, including the North American market, where it faced “a further acceleration in the last two years, Pagano said.

“After an accurate analysis, we chose Ohio and particularly the Cincinnati area because of the excellent position, the great industrial presence and the high professionality of JobsOhio and REDI Cincinnati, who helped us in the whole process,” he said.

The building was previously owned and occupied by Cox Media Group Ohio and served as the printing operation for all of its local newspapers, including Journal-News, Springfield News-Sun and Dayton Daily News.

CMG closed the Franklin printing plant in 2017, after securing an agreement with Gannett Co. Inc. to print its three daily newspapers and its weekly publications in the company’s Indianapolis plant.

Monday’s sale to Immobiltec USA Inc. is listed at nearly $13.2 million.

Modula received a Job Creation Tax Credit from the State of Ohio totaling 1.52 percent with a duration of seven years.

“Modula’s investment in Franklin is a unique opportunity that combines foreign direct investment and one of our target industries — advanced manufacturing — into an iconic building,” said Kimm Lauterbach, REDI Cincinnati president and CEO. “It takes the work of all of our partners to accomplish this and I’m thankful for their commitment to the region.”

Modula’s investment in Franklin and in Warren County is “greatly appreciated,” said Warren County Economic Development Director Matt Schnipke.

“Modula’s decision to locate here as opposed to the other competing locations shows a strong collaboration between the state, regional and local communities in Southwest Ohio,” Schnipke said. “This iconic location will provide a great home and room for future growth as Modula joins the Warren County business community.”

Modula Chairman Franco Stefani said the company’s target is to establish a production capacity of 2,000 Vertical Lift Modules per year in the building.

“The highly automated production process is in line with the high technological level of our VLM products, and the WMS (warehouse management software) that goes with them,” Stefani said. “We are willing to invest in the rich, dynamic and skilled human capital of this region, able to work in an Industry 4.0 advanced environment.”

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