City Council approves $250,000 to help Eastern Wire Products expand

The manufacturer requested the loan and grant package to buy and renovate a building in Northwest Jacksonville.

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The City Council unanimously approved steel wire manufacturer Eastern Wire Products Inc.’s request for $250,000 in city incentives to support its expansion in Northwest Jacksonville. 

Council voted 17-0 on Aug. 24 to approve a $100,000 Northwest Economic Development Fund Business Infrastructure Grant and a $150,000 Small Business Development Initiative loan to the Jacksonville-based company.

The money will come from the city’s Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Trust Fund, according to documents filed with Resolution 2021-0437.

Eastern Wire has been leasing part of a multitenant building at 5301 W. Fifth St. for three years, and rising costs pushed the company to consider purchasing its own facility at 5415 Longleaf St., said the city Office of Economic Development, 

The new site has a 78,000-square-foot building that city economic development officials say needs updates to meet building code requirements.

Also, the site is in a Level 2 Distress Area, which the city defines as an area where the median household income is below 60 percent and the percentage of the unemployed labor force is higher than 25% of the countywide average.

A legislative fact sheet filed with the bill says the company’s tying wires are manufactured to support the recycling and construction industries.

Founded in 1971, Eastern Wire’s primary customer base is east of the Mississippi River.

This is how Eastern Wire’s estimated $4.461 million development costs for its proposed facility break down:

• $3.055 million for site acquisition and demolition

• $522,239 for infrastructure improvements

• $645,242 for building renovations

• $239,424 for machinery and equipment purchases

The city loan would be subordinate to a $3.79 million first mortgage loan provided by Wells Fargo Bank and guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) Program.

Eastern Wire proposes to finance the $4.46 million project with the first mortgage, the grant and second mortgage and with $421,190 from the company’s principals.

City economic development officials said Eastern Wire will create 10 full-time jobs at an average annual wage of $32,500 plus benefits. 

The company currently employs 42 full-time workers at an average annual wage of $38,000 plus benefits, according to the fact sheet.

The Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Advisory Committee, which manages the fund, approved the incentives request June 15.