Johnson Controls Inc. will soon have a new address in York County.
The Milwaukee-based manufacturer on Monday finalized the purchase of 57 acres of land in Hopewell Township.
Construction will soon begin in the Stonebridge Business Park to build a $148 million facility that will serve as a testing center for heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment. The company expects construction to be complete by late 2017, according to Monica Zimmer, company spokeswoman.
Though the new facility will also support engineering and business operations, the company's current campus in Spring Garden Township will remain open. About 250 employees will continue to work at that site at 631 S. Richland Ave.
Johnson Controls will relocate about 450 jobs from that facility to the new Hopewell Township site, which will be approximately 15 miles south of the Spring Garden campus.
"This expansion supports the long-term growth of our company, and at the same time, we are able to retain our skilled workforce in York County by building our new facility so close to the existing one," said Dave Myers, president of Johnson Controls Building Efficiency, in a company statement.
Shopped around: The announcement is a big win for York County, given that the manufacturer shopped for property throughout the region, according to Darrell Auterson, CEO of the York County Economic Alliance.
Johnson Controls has operated in the county since 1925 and was previously known as York International. The company considered at least 10 different sites along the I-83 corridor, including a location in Maryland.
To keep the company from crossing state lines, the YCEA, state, county, South Eastern School District and Hopewell Township banded together to offer tax incentives.
Tax breaks: Johnson Controls will benefit from a tax increment financing (TIF) plan that will help fund its new facility.
Through a 20-year bond with long-term fixed financing, the company can use money it would have paid in taxes to make necessary site improvements.
For example, South Eastern voted in November to forfeit 70 percent of its tax revenue from the site to support the TIF plan.
Johnson Controls won't avoid paying taxes for 20 years; instead, the company will pay a lower rate.
But in 20 years, the company will pay the full tax rate on its property.
"If state and local leadership hadn't stepped up to the plate to keep this company in York County, we would've been second guessing ourselves for years," Auterson said.
Gov. Tom Corbett's office also supported the TIF plan.
"Our partnership with Johnson Controls will result in a significant investment, hundreds of new construction jobs and the retention of approximately 450 jobs in York County," Corbett said in a statement.
That Johnson Controls chose to invest one of its two worldwide testing facilities in York is a success for the entire community, said Mike Smeltzer, executive director of the Manufacturers' Association of South Central Pennsylvania.
"To keep companies like Johnson Controls is absolutely critical, and it speaks well for the relationship the company has with the community," he said. "This is pretty cool for York County."
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