Tampa Bay manufacturer to invest $80 million in expansion

James Hardie will invest money in a new site located in the Tampa Bay area.

James Hardie, a manufacturer of fiber cement siding, will be investing $80 million to improve its Tampa Bay area location. 

Along with adding to its Plant City, Fla., site, the Ireland-based manufacturer will look to add more than 100 new jobs by the time the plant project is complete in 2015. South Division General Manager Ryan Sullivan told the Tampa Bay Times said this expansion will help the local economy.

"This is an exciting time for James Hardie in both Plant City and around the world," Sullivan told the Tampa Bay Times. "This process expansion underscores the importance of our local workforce and its ability to meet our customers' needs, and build upon James Hardie's innovative legacy that began in 1888."

Job growth throughout the state
The announcement from James Hardie is another positive mark for job growth in Hillsborough County, Fla. In November, health care firm Covidien added 165 new jobs to its manufacturing center in Riverview, Fla. Other organizations such as USAA, HealthPlan Services and Amazon said they all plan to add new jobs to their Florida centers within the next few years.

Plant City officials approved a moratorium in September regarding gathering transportation mobility fees in order to attract more economic development projects to the city Under the moratorium, James Hardie will collect a $37,300 waiver fee.

Manufacturing sector seeing major growth
The investment James Hardie will make is a major victory for Florida's manufacturing sector. The Tampa Bay Times reported Florida has added 182,000 jobs over the past year, but many of these are in lower-paying positions in the retail and tourism sector. The manufacturing industry has only added more than 400 jobs over the past year. Allen Brinkman, chairman of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation told the Tampa Bay Times that the county is excited for James Hardie invest in its Florida location.

"This is a big win for Plant City and Hillsborough County," he said. "Manufacturing projects are among the most competitive and highly prized in economic development, and as the industry begins to show signs of recovery and expansion, we're well-positioned to leverage this momentum."

New factory
The Tampa Bay Times said through the expansion, James Hardie will double its production capacity and add 100,000 square feet to an existing pipe plant it plans to use for sheet production.

James Hardie has been at its Plant City location since 1994 and currently employs 100 people.