At a time when many businesses are shrinking, at least one South Bend business has plans to expand.
Royal Adhesives has four million dollar plans to build a new plant and a new warehouse on the city’s west side, in the two thousand block of W. Washington.
“They’ll be maintaining 116 employees, and they'll be hiring 28-more,” said Robert Mathias with the South Bend Department of Redevelopment. “The additional wages that will be earned will be over one million three hundred thousand dollars.”
On Monday of this week, Royal filed a request for tax abatements for the project. “It was kind of a surprise when it came along,” said Mathias, “because things have slowed down a little bit as the general economy has.”
Today, the South Bend Redevelopment Commission made quick work of the request. The tax abatement was approved unanimously.
For one commission member, it was a case of déjà vu.
“They stayed even when they were denied tax abatement ten years ago,” said Dr. David Varner. “They’ve grown, they’ve made improvements, they’re paying taxes, I think any improvement and growth in this day and age is good.”
Ten years ago, Varner was on the South Bend Common Council when a tax abatement request was made for the same site. That request was turned down because at that time the company was owned and operated by Uniroyal—not Royal.
“It was immediately or very soon there after when Uniroyal had closed, or had filed for bankruptcy,” said Varner. “There were salary cuts, there were pension cuts…and the folks who appeared at that meeting were very upset about that.”
In 2001, Uniroyal sold the South Bend operation to Royal. Now, expansion plans have surfaced again. This time, those plans appear to be much less controversial. The request now goes before the South Bend Common Council. Since Varner still sits on the council, he’ll get a chance to vote on the request again.
Two company representatives appeared at the Redevelopment Commission meeting today. One cautioned that the project was still in the planning stages, and that it hadn’t yet been approved by the board of directors.