GOSHEN — A metal-forming startup that will reuse the former Chassix plant in Bristol plans to get started with a bond of up to $40 million.

Wilmington, Delaware-based Brinco plans to open a steel casting plant at 51650 C.R. 133, where an automotive parts maker once employed close to 600 people. The new company will recycle scrap metal to make steel castings needed for the production of rail parts.

Brinco plans to hire about 250 people and make an initial investment of around $34.5 million.

Elkhart County officials have considered economic incentives for Brinco in recent months, including the declaration of an economic revitalization area and the granting of a tax phase-in. The Elkhart County Commissioners on Monday approved a measure related to the company’s bond application, which expresses Brinco’s intent to borrow up to $40 million. 

Legal counsel Craig Buche told the commissioners the measure acknowledges that they’re aware of the project, but doesn’t require any repayment from the county. It also doesn’t affect the county’s ability to borrow money for its own projects.

The company has also received a $500,000 workforce training grant from the Indiana Skills Enhancement Fund.

Brinco plans to close on the bond in March and start production in April.

‘In the mold of Apple’

Brinco bought the 430,000-square-foot facility for $10 million earlier this year. It plans to invest about $4.5 million in improvements to the property and to buy and install about $15 million worth of equipment.

It’s a slightly scaled back version of the investment Chris Stager, head of the Elkhart County Economic Development Corp., described when announcing the project to the Elkhart County Council. He said in September that the total investment was around $52 million, but later said unexpected cost overruns in renovating the building prompted the company to cut its initial costs.

Stager said the highly automated plant is expected to be one of the most advanced manufacturing facilities in the county.

The bond document compares the facility to Google or Apple. The site will include features like a health clinic for employees, cafeteria, workout facility and training rooms, according to the bond volume cap application, which was prepared by the law firm Ice Miller. 

“The project will go beyond a typical steel production facility. The project design calls for a ‘state of the art’ facility much in the mold of Apple or Google,” it states. “With this and the contemplated wages in mind, the economic impact will create competition for such jobs and require additional services and jobs to be performed and created in the county to accommodate the new 250 employees.”

In terms of production, the plant will exclusively use carbon steel scrap that would otherwise be landfill-bound, bought from scrap dealers in the Midwest, according to the application. The scrap will be heated to 3,000 degrees in new electric furnaces and the molten product will be adjusted as needed with the addition of carbon and manganese.

The former company at that location, Diversified Machine, was a subsidiary of Michigan-based Chassix. It laid off 500 workers in 2016 and closed two years later, forcing out the remaining 95 employees.

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