HARTSELLE — An Indiana-based company has purchased the 263,000-square-foot Copeland building near Hartselle and has plans to increase employment to more than 200 people during the next three years.
Busche finalized negotiations with CP Compressors on Monday to buy the manufacturing facility, which is on 48 acres near Thompson Road and Interstate 65.
In the short term, the company will continue to manufacture compressors for air conditioning systems, Hartselle Mayor Dwight Tankersley said. The plant’s long-range plan is to transition into an after-market automotive parts supplier, state Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said.
“We’ve been talking with them for almost two years and they were very intent on purchasing this facility with plans of being an auto supplier,” Orr said.
The company did not release an exact number but said it would retain some of the plant’s existing 40 to 50 employees to help with the transition.
In a news release and according to its website, Busche specializes in the machining of intricate castings and forgings for the automobile, construction, agricultural, medium-duty truck industries and a wide variety of other industries. Company officials declined to comment beyond what was in its news release.
Orr, who was involved with negotiations, said the average pay will be $35,000 annually.
Morgan County Economic Development Association president Jeremy Nails said the company was not eligible for tax abatements under state law because it was an acquisition of existing assets.
Nails said any newly created jobs would be eligible for tax abatements.
“The good news right now is we won’t have a shuttered facility,” Nails said. “The plant is going to remain open and will continue to produce jobs, taxes and paychecks for Morgan County.”
The plant, which in its heyday employed more than 1,000 people, has been the subject of discussion since Emerson Climate Technologies announced in February 2010 that it was closing the facility.
Formerly known as Copeland Corp., the plant made components for air conditioning systems. The company blamed the shutdown on the economic slump, stagnant housing and construction markets, and the government-mandated phase-out of R-22 refrigerant.
R-22 is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon that for 40 years has been the most common refrigerant for commercial and industrial air conditioning. According to studies, though, R-22 emissions contribute to ozone depletion and global warming.
Beginning in 2011, manufacturers could service R-22 equipment but not produce new equipment that uses the refrigerant. Emerson used R-22 in the compressors it manufactured in Hartselle.
The plant’s sale represents “a victory” for Hartselle and the entire region, Tankersley said.
Busche will do long-term machining contract work at the facility, the company said in a written statement.
Busche, which is a computer numerical production machining organization, employs more than 600 workers at nine locations in Indiana and Alabama.
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