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Auto Supplier To Create Hundreds Of WV Jobs

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 10:15am
The Associated Press

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Automotive parts supplier Gestamp plans to create hundreds of jobs and invest a minimum of $100 million at the former South Charleston Stamping and Manufacturing Plant, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Tuesday.

It will be the company's sixth U.S. auto parts facility.

Tomblin said it's a collaborative effort between Gestamp, the state, the city of South Charleston, the Kanawha County commission, and current site owner Park Corp.

"We all worked together to make this opportunity a reality," Tomblin said. "This project truly validates the efforts and hard work of many people."

Gestamp North America President and CEO Jeff Wilson said some employees will move into the facility right away.

Troy, Mich.-based Gestamp North America is a subsidiary of Gestamp Automocion, a privately held company based in Madrid, Spain.

The facility has more than 1 million square feet and has been vacant for several years.

The announcement softens the blow of last month's closing of a South Charleston lumber company.

"I'm just so happy about the Valley putting people back to work," said Park Corp. chairman Ray Park.

South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens said the new plant would employ at least 200 workers.

"It's a big day — an historic day for us," Mullens said.

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller applauded the announcement.

When Manchin was governor, the state approved a $15 million loan to help Park Corp. transform the site. The loan has since been paid back.

"I thank my dear friend, Ray Park, for his vision and belief in our state and its workforce," Manchin said. "These are the types of investments we must continue to make — and the partnerships we must continue to form — to keep our state and our economy competitive."

Two previous owners of the stamping plant filed for bankruptcy.

"I've been involved with this stamping plant since my days as governor, and I have stood beside the workers through good and bad times during the Mayflower and Union Stamping days," Rockefeller said. "I couldn't be happier that it's on the way to re-opening and adding hundreds of jobs for the Kanawha Valley."

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