A Chattanooga company has plans to double down in the city as it expands its existing facility and starts up another plant as the manufacturer tries to keep up with its growth.
M&M Industries in Lookout Valley, a maker of plastic pails and containers, is planning a $42.7 million expansion and creating at least 110 more jobs.
"Our business has expanded a great deal," said Glenn Morris, the company's chief executive. "We've been awarded contracts with key customers and we're developing other parts of our business."
M&M is seeking tax incentives from the city and Hamilton County to expand its 316 Corporate Place location and build a second manufacturing plant at 1435 E. 14th St. in Highland Park.
Company at a glance
Name: M&M Industries Inc.
Founded: 1986 by Glenn Morris Sr., an inventor with 44 patents
Current management: Glenn Morris Jr., son of the founder, is CEO
Products: Plastic containers for hazardous and non-hazardous solids and liquids
Staff: 400 employees at plants in Chattanooga and Phoenix
Future plans: Expand existing plant, add second local plant in Highland Park
The jobs are projected to have an annual hourly wage excluding benefits of $17.92, according to a payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) proposal slated to go before the City Council on Nov. 14.
Already, M&M employs 300 people in Lookout Valley and another 100 at a Phoenix, Ariz., facility, Morris said. The company's products are used in the swimming pool chemical, pharmaceutical and paint industries, the official said.
The company, which has 220,000 square feet in Lookout Valley, plans to put up a 200,000-square-foot warehouse there, Morris said. He said the company has $1 million in machinery slated to come to Chattanooga this month.
At East 14th Street, the company wants to conduct manufacturing and warehousing initially in 117,000 square feet of space in an existing facility it will own, Morris said.
The company will invest nearly $3 million for renovation and about $24 million for machinery and equipment at the new site, which was formerly a Millennium Packaging facility before Georgia Pacific shut down that plant in 2012, according to the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.
The 14th Street building pays around $24,000 a year in city property taxes now. M&M would continue paying that sum, plus school taxes, over the a seven-year PILOT. Taxes on the added value would be 100 percent forgiven in the first year, 75 percent in the second year, 60 percent in the third year and 50 percent in the remaining three years.
Even with the agreement, the company would pay double the amount of present-day taxes over the seven years of the agreement, officials said.
If the PILOT application is approved, M&M is seeking to start production at the new plant by the middle or end of 2018, Morris said.
In addition, the Hamilton County Rail Authority designed a rail spur for the new facility, which is key as M&M ships in plastic resin, the company's CEO said.
Morris said he is hopeful that some people who live in the neighborhood of the East 14th site will walk to work at the plant.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said an expanding company puts more money in the pockets of local families.
"The creation of more than 100 jobs is a great addition to the revitalization of Highland Park," he said in a statement.
County Mayor Jim Coppinger termed M&M's growth "not only a great story about manufacturing, but a great story about entrepreneurship."
Morris' father, Glenn Morris Sr., established M&M in Chattanooga in 1986 after he began packaging over-the-counter remedies in 1963. Morris held more than 44 patents, including several for child-resistant containers. The elder Morris was inducted into the University of Tennessee Chattanooga Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2005 along with U.S. Sen. Bob Corker shortly before he died later that year.
Contact Mike Pare at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6318.
This story was updated Nov. 7 at 10:35 p.m. with more information.