Roofing company to build 2nd plant in Union County

Robert Inglis/The Daily Item GAF in New Columbia is planning on opening a second facilty close to their current location.

GAF, a commercial roofing manufacturer, plans to build a second multi-million dollar plant in White Deer Township, Union County.

Site development plans show the proposed plant measures at 433,127 square feet. It’s to be built on farmland immediately south to the existing plant on Old Route 15, just off Exit 210 of Interstate 80. It will produce insulation to complement the roofing materials made next door, according to plant manager Michael Widerquist.

2020 is targeted for production to begin, Widerquist said.

“We would be able to sell the entire roofing system out of this site,” Widerquist said.

“This is adding additional capacity to the company,” Andy Hilton, the company’s chief communications officer, said.

Up to 35 employees would work at the proposed site with a maximum of 15 per shift, according to site development plans submitted to the township.

Widerquist nor Hilton wouldn’t say how much the project will cost GAF, a $3 billion company headquartered in Parsippany, N.J.

Former plant manager Joe Gregory previously estimated GAF invested $70 million at its existing plant, which measures at 275,500 square feet. GAF purchased the former CMC Joist and Deck property in October 2016 for $12,250,000. It was renovated before production began in November 2017. More than 50 people work there, Widerquist said.

GAF purchased the 33.73-acre parcel tabbed for the new plant in June for $1,175,000.

“This is the biggest industrial manufacturing facility built in Union County in quite some time,” Shawn McLaughlin, county planning and economic development director, said.

Joan Duncheskie, county assessor, confirmed GAF’s existing plant is assessed at $4,243,500. Of that, $119,700 is currently exempted under a tax abatement program agreed to by the municipality, county and Milton Area School District.

GAF paid $67,630.32 to the school district and a combined $24,086.29 to the county and township in real estate taxes this year.

Its new undeveloped parcel is assessed at $198,900. That value will rise once the new project is completed.

White Deer Township’s planning commission reviewed the site development plans Tuesday. The commission recommends township supervisors approve the plan when they meet Nov. 27.

Carroll Diefenbach, supervisor chairman, said there were no major concerns with the project.

“I think it’s going to be a good thing for White Deer Township. These people are great to work with,” Diefenbach said, noting GAF donated $10,000 to the township fire company for a new engine.

GAF’s location is ideal for shipping and receiving. It’s located just off the Interstate and near Route 15. A majority of its raw materials are delivered to the existing plant by rail. That’ll continue at the new site, Widerquist said.

Widerquist said a contractor won’t break ground on the project until after the new year. The company still needs to go through the state permitting process. McLaughlin said the county assisted in requesting utility relocation and helping the township re-zone the parcel from village to general commercial.

“We’re extremely pleased to see they’re growing here locally. It’s a big benefit to the regional economy. They’re providing family sustaining employment opportunities,” McLaughlin said. “That part of the county is built on manufacturing.”

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