Staff Writer- Dallas Business Journal
The fast-growing northern Dallas suburb of McKinney has scored a big economic development win.
The city will soon be home to Wistron GreenTech Corp., a subsidiary of Wistron Corp., a $22.4 billion Fortune 500 company based in Taiwan. Wistron will renovate a corporate campus near the Collin County Regional Airport. The result will be a $21 million electronics recycling hub that will initially employ 80 people.
“We have been working on it now for well over a year,” McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller said. “They were working with a number of large metropolitan areas, and this was a good sign that we were able to compete.”
The deal also represents a significant investment in a cutting-edge technology for electronics recycling, a process traditionally handled by smelters. Instead of burning old circuit boards, Wistron GreenTech uses a chemical process to extract precious metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, palladium and copper, from old laptops and other electronic devices. The new process is designed to be more energy efficient and recycle more of the old components.
“There is no technology out there that is able to do what that technology does,” said Eric Harris, associate counsel and director of government and international affairs with Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. “This creates a positive market for circuit boards, which is where much of the value of electronics recycling lies.”
This type of technology has taken a while to enter the market because it can be difficult to scale, Harris said.
“A lot of companies have been trying to implement this technology for a number of years, but they haven’t been able to pull it together,” he said. “It’s a significant investment.”
|A collective effort: McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller and McKinney Economic Development Corp. Vice President Abby Liu worked together to bring Wistron GreenTech to the city.
Wistron GreenTech bought the former Kone elevator manufacturing facility, a 209,000-square-foot building that sits on 22 acres of land at 2101 Couch Drive, for an undisclosed sum. According to the Collin County Appraisal District, the property is valued at more than $5 million. The company is renovating the building and plans to begin operations in January.
In the next two years, the company plans to increase its employee base to 120 workers. Each year, Wistron GreenTech plans to spend $3 million on wages, or an average of $20 per hour for an employee. Those operations will bring an important addition to the city’s corporate community, Loughmiller said. “There will be some synergy between Wistron GreenTech and other corporations in the city, as they recycle computer parts,” he said. “They also take over a facility that has been vacant for more than a year, and there’s an opportunity for them to expand in McKinney.”
Wistron GreenTech has the first right of refusal on 37 acres of developable land behind the existing facility.
That land was one of the reasons that attracted Wistron GreenTech to McKinney, after narrowing its site selection a year ago to North Texas. McKinney was one of three finalist cities, which included Atlanta, Ga. and Columbus, Ohio.
After the company whittled down its search to North Texas, Wistron GreenTech toured facilities throughout the region before landing in McKinney, said Bill Long, the strategic director at Wistron GreenTech, which was launched in 2010 by Wistron Corp. and currently operates out of a temporary facility in Grapevine.
The incentive package
It took a collective effort from multiple entities in McKinney to pull the project off, Loughmiller said, including a trip by McKinney Economic Development Corp. Vice President Abby Lui to Taiwan last year to visit with the company’s executives.
Wistron GreenTech has applied for incentives through the McKinney Economic Development Corp., the City of McKinney and the Texas Workforce Commission.
Earlier this year, McKinney Economic Development Corp. approved two cash incentives totaling $550,000 based on taxable business valuation and the number of employees the company will bring to the city.
If Wistron GreenTech receives its permitting status from the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, the company could receive an additional incentive from the economic development corporation of $250,000. City Manager Jason Gray plans to recommend a tax abatement of 50 percent for five years on the increased value of real and personal property at Wistron GreenTech’s new facility over the current property values. He plans to make his recommendation to the City Council on Nov. 6.
Wistron GreenTech also has applied for the Texas Workforce Commission’s job training program. If accepted, the program will give the company up to $590,000 to spend on employee training.
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Source: Dallas Business Journal