By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
BENTON TOWNSHIP — Benton Township trustees Tuesday night approved Modineer Corp.’s request for a 12-year tax abatement.
The abatement will go toward a more than $2 million expansion. Modineer expects to add more than 20 jobs to its Benton Township location.
Niles-based Modineer, a metal stamping company, has two locations – Benton Township and South Bend.
Cornerstone Alliance, an economic development agency, worked with Modineer for several months and presented the tax abatement on its behalf Tuesday.
This is the first of a multi-step process to keep the company in Berrien County, said Greg Vaughn, Cornerstone Alliance’s chief operating officer and vice president of Business Development. Modineer is seeking help from the state to locate their coating division at the Benton Township plant at 2200 E. Empire Ave.
Vaughn said Modineer bought the Benton Township plant about eight months ago.
“Modineer is a growing company, and we are confident they will receive the necessary incentives from the state for the expansion project to occur in Benton Charter Township,” Vaughn said.
The expansion would involve an additional 38,000 square feet to accommodate the business’ coating division.
Robert Fuentes, a Modineer representative, said told trustees they expect to break ground on the expansion by July 1 and be done by October 2018.
“We currently do e-coating and powder coating, which is painting application,” Fuentes said. “We are looking to do a form of military coating next.”
The project is expected to add 21 jobs and retain the existing 45 employees. Fuentes said they are all full-time workers.
Fuentes said Modineer was considering the South Bend plant for the expansion project. However, Benton Township was a preferred area as Modineer is looking to expand the business with military contracts. In order to do so, they needed to be in a HUD Zone, which Benton Harbor and the township are.
Since the abatement was approved, Clerk Carolyn Phillips said 50 percent of what would normally be taken from taxes on the expansion will be waived.
In another matter, trustees rescheduled the May 2 board meeting to Monday, May 1, as the prior date conflicts with a special Benton Harbor schools election. The township hall will be used during the special election.
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on March 22, 2017)