Company Eyeing Fort Smith For $38 Mil Investment

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- A new corporation has requested to use industrial revenue bonds for building a new manufacturing plant -- which is said to be a $38 mil investment--and has chosen Fort Smith as a contending city to do so.

If Fort Smith is chosen, Silgan Plastic Food Containers Corporation plans to bring 150 well-paying jobs to town within the next three years.

"Silgan has over $3 billion in net annual sales a year," Tim Allen, president of Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce said. "They're one of the largest manufacturers of plastic and metal containers in the world."

The company anticipates to decide within the next 30 to 45 days where to build a manufacturing plant, and Fort Smith leaders say they hope it will be there.

During a special Board of Directors meeting Monday (Nov. 20), Fort Smith directors voted in favor of using industrial revenue bonds as an incentive to bring Silgan local.

Silgan plans to build a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing plant. Since the equipment and building purchased with the bond proceeds is owned by the city, Silgan would make payments to the city for the next 10 years. The payments will be distributed the same way property tax payments are distributed to Fort Smith schools, the city and county.

"The city of Fort Smith is not loaning the money," Allen said. "They're simply the issuer of the bonds and Fort Smith would just act as a pass-through from the company to the bond holders."

The Chamber said if Fort Smith is selected as a new site, the are would acquire 150 jobs over the first three years of business. Allen said those jobs would pay much more than the average, giving people in the River Valley economic development and job creation to look forward to.

"Our goal is to lure high tech manufacturing skill sets that are gonna be above and beyond what you typically thought of manufacturing because they typically pay 30%-40% more in wages," Allen said. "High paying jobs, high tech manufacturing; that's the future of North American manufacturing."

If built in Fort Smith, Silgan is considering building on a 15-acre site within city limits, but due to a non-disclosure agreement, those with the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce and city officials wouldn't comment on location, other cities in the running or additional specifics.