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Lafayette companies unveil expansion plans

Wabash National is looking to increase its production in Lafayette.

The company is seeking a tax abatement from the city to begin manufacturing vacuum tank trailers in its existing facility.

Senior Tax Manager Eric Demerly says the project could bring up to 60 new jobs to the area, with hourly wages around $17. He says getting the tax abatement is an important step in bringing this project to Lafayette.

"It does help a lot for us, and we do have facilities in other areas of the country and, when making the decision of where we're going to put a new line, this is one of the factors. Lafayette has, in the past, been very receptive to this kind of proposal."

The Lafayette Redevelopment Commission voted in support of creating an Economic Revitalization Area, which is the first step in granting a tax abatement for the project.

Development Director Dennis Carson says the move would generate new employment in the area, as would three other expansion proposals.

Heartland Automotive wants to shift its production of car parts to a new facility on U.S. 52 at Veterans Memorial Parkway, at a cost of $8.4 million. The Subaru supply company has 38 temporary workers, and plans to add them to the existing full-time staff.

Alcoa plans to increase production at a new 115,000 square foot building adjacent to its current plant. The project is slated to cost $90 million and generate 75 new jobs.

Rea Magnet Wire also needs to grow. The company is investing $7.5 million in a new copper refining system and equipment upgrades. It will add nine employees.

With Redevelopment Commission approval, the requests next go to the city council.