An aluminum can manufacturer wants to build what will be the largest industrial facility in Delaware County and bring more than 300 jobs to the area.
CanPack, headquartered in Poland and owned by a larger company in Pennsylvania, makes aluminum cans for beer and other beverages. It will spend at least $380 million to build a large manufacturing facility at Cowan and Fuson roads. At 862,000 square feet, it will be the biggest such operation in the county. And with the option to expand to near one million square feet, the building could get close to the size of the former BorgWarner plant.
CanPack representative Tom Johnson says there’s a US shortage of 10 billion cans currently. That’s why the company wants to build quickly and begin staffing after the first of next year.
Johnson says Muncie beat out several Midwestern states and eight other Indiana locations, especially when it comes to workforce potential.
“Give a lot of credit to the recognition around the need to advance folks in these high-tech manufacturing type skills and roles. And it seems like Indiana has done a phenomenal job to stay well ahead of that curve, and continues to really sort-of invest and make that a priority. And I think that’s a key factor for us.”
CanPack will eventually create at least 345 jobs and officials say wages will be 125 percent of average Muncie wages. Johnson did not put a dollar amount to that figure.
Delaware County Director of Economic Development and Redevelopment Brad Bookout says the advanced manufacturing positions will bring job diversity to the area.
“And we need to also not have all of our eggs in one basket. In the past, we have focused on automobile parts. And as we know, when the automobile industry goes down, so does our local economy.”
County officials made sure to point out on the record at a public meeting that CanPack would be an environmentally-responsible neighbor. That’s after citizens rallied in 2019 to oppose the Waelz Sustainable Products factory from being built, with opponents saying that company wasn’t being honest about how much it would pollute Muncie’s air.
Johnson says the life cycle of an aluminum can from raw coil to individual can and back to coil is about 60 days in countries with robust recycling programs.
The Delaware County Council started the process this week for the project to go forward. Various groups will need to approve an economic agreement, bonds, and create a TIF district for the project. County officials hope that can be completed by August.