A manufacturing company has finalized its purchase of about 32 acres adjacent to Port Manatee and is set to begin construction on the new facility expected to bring 250 manufacturing and related jobs over the next five years.
Air Products (NYSE: APD) completed the land purchase with HRK Holdings, LLC for its new manufacturing facility, announced in July 2012, where it will primarily build heat exchangers for use in the liquefaction of natural gas.
“We are pleased to have closed on the property purchase so we can get started with construction of our new manufacturing facility, said Jim Solomon, director of Liquified Natural Gas at Air Products. "This plant will provide additional capacity which is needed to stay ahead of the increasing market demand, and allow the manufacture of larger LNG heat exchangers for customers around the world. Readily available port access removes the major shipping constraints we had previously faced with this larger equipment.”
The location for the Air Products Port Manatee manufacturing facility will ease global shipping of what is typically very large equipment. It will also allow Air Products to manufacture the even larger LNG heat exchangers in demanded by the market.
Construction on the roughly 300,000 square foot manufacturing plant, which will employ about 250 people over a four year ramp-up period, will begin soon. Production operations are expected to start by 2014.
“This site has exactly what we need and we are excited to get started, said Sandy McLauchlin, general manager of Air Products’ LNG engineering and manufacturing. "We appreciate greatly the efforts of the Manatee County Economic Development Corporation and local and state government officials in finding this location and for their support.”
McLauchlin added that Air Products worked with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to understand and reach satisfactory assurances regarding pre-existing environmental issues at the location.
Piney Point once owned the site and used it to store gypsum, a byproduct of from the fertilizer industry. HRK bought the former phosphate facility to use as disposal grounds for Port Manatee's Berth 12 dredging project and eventually dredge spoil from the Wares Creek project. Last year the lines covering the gypsum stacks began leaking, spilling about 170 million gallons of toxic water into ditches and then into Bishop Harbor which feeds into Tampa Bay.
The 32-acre site will be developed for manufacturing. Air Products has manufactured Liquified Natural Gas heat exchangers as large as 15.5 feet in diameter, 180 feet long, and weighing as much as 500 tons at its existing Wilkes-Barre, Pa. facility for more than 45 years.
Air Products’ proprietary technology is in 15 countries processing and cryogenically liquefying natural gas for consumer and industrial use. The technology, in place at some of the most remote locations around the world, unlocks natural gas by liquefying it and making it possible to economically ship it around the world. The Liquified Natural Gas is eventually re-gasified for energy use.
Over the last four decades Air Products has designed, manufactured and exported 100 coil wound heat exchangers for Liquified Natural Gas projects around the world.