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Linetec expansion plan clears first Wausau committee


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- A Wausau industry received first round approval for a major expansion project. Linetec in Wausau’s West Business Park specializes in anodizing, painting, and powder coating metal products, with many of the products used in the building construction industry. Linetec’s President Rick Marshall says the proposed third line means 120,000 more square feet and another production line to keep up with demand.  “It means a lot of growth and a lot of jobs. We’re very excited to get moving on this, and time is of the essence for us to get this in place and started before the winter frost, so it can be operational by next summer.”

Marshall says the growth will mean more new jobs on top of their existing staff of 380 workers. “Approximately 93 jobs over the course of 4 years, conservatively.”

Linetec could build in Michigan close to another Apogee Enterprises company that uses a lot of their product, but Marshall believes they would be better served expanding in Wausau.  “The Wausau area is blessed with, really being the concentration of building products manufacturing companies. There’s no other place in the United States or North America where there’s this many building product manufacturers all in one place,and we’re very proud to be a part of that, and it’s really part of our livelihood.”

One of the area businesses that works with Linetec is Gordon Aluminum in Schofield, which extrudes many of the aluminum products that Linetec finishes. President A.J. Gordon says the two businesses both benefit if this expansion goes forward.  “We’re a very close partner with Linetech, and so we share a lot of the same customer base, and being in similar industries, that’s doubly so. What benefits them allows us to expand and utilize our capabilities to support them in their sales and vise versa.”  He says, “As the market gets busier and they get tight on capacity, that restricts our ability to use their services and offer that to customers, and vice versa, so on our side, we’re adding a large expansion project right now adding a fourth extrusion press, to help them fill the lines that are there, and hopefully fill this next line if we can get that through and approved.”

The economy has been slowly growing, and Linetec officials strongly believe the building trades are about to have significant growth, which is why they are trying to move quickly.  “The market is about ready to start another upswing, and if you’re not ready to take advantage of that, you can be too far into it to gain those customers by the time it’s really hitting it’s strides, so being ready at the inflection of the curve is extremely important, which is why we’re doing our expansion project right now, and which is why Rick is looking for their expansion project right now as well.”

Linetec is seeking between two and three million dollars in tax incremental finance incentives. The total project will cost 15-point-3 million dollars. Marshall is hoping to have it in production by next August, so starting before the ground freezes is vital to reaching that start up date.

The Economic Development Committee passed the proposal on a 5-0 vote. The city’s Finance Committee will look at it next Tuesday. If the Common Council suspends the rules later that same day, it could vote to give final approval to the project.