Eastern Wire seeks grant, loan to expand in Northwest Jacksonville

The Jacksonville-based company requests $250,000 to buy and upgrade a building.

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Eastern Wire Products Inc. seeks a city grant and loan totaling $250,000 to buy a structure in Northwest Jacksonville for expansion.

The Jacksonville-based company makes steel wire and related products. It leases part of a multitenant building and wants to buy a 78,000-square-foot structure that needs to be upgraded.

The city Office of Economic Development intends to ask the Mayor’s Budget Review Committee on June 21 to authorize the introduction of a resolution to City Council on July 27 to provide the incentives.

The resolution would authorize the mayor to execute an economic development agreement with Eastern Wire Products.

According to a project summary by the economic development office, Eastern Wire proposes to invest $4.46 million into the project.

That amount comprises almost $3.06 million for the site acquisition and demolition, $522,239 into infrastructure improvements; $645,242 in building renovations; and $239,424 in machinery and equipment purchases.

The Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Advisory Committee approved a request June 15 for the assistance.

Eastern Wire requests a $100,000 Northwest Economic Development Fund Business Infrastructure Grant and a $150,000 Small Business Development Initiative loan amortized over 20 years with a balloon payment of $86,153 due at the end of the 10th year.

That loan would be subordinate to the $3.79 million first mortgage loan provided by Wells Fargo Bank 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 by $421,190 from the company’s principals.

The company employs 42 full-time employees at an average wage of $38,000 plus benefits for a total payroll of $1.6 million. That is an average $18.26 per hour.

The summary says Eastern Wire estimates the expansion will result in another 10 jobs within three years at an average $32,500 a year (about $15.63 an hour) after the building is bought and renovated.

The summary says Robert Yates Sr. and his son, Robert Yates Jr., founded the company in 1991, state records show. Robert Yates Jr.’s two sons, Mark and Scott Yates, own and manage it now.

Mark Scott is president and Scott Yates is CFO.

Eastern Wire has been leasing part of a building at 5301 W. Fifth St. for 30 years, the summary says.

To expand and better control costs, the company wants to buy a building at 5415 Longleaf St. that was built in 1964. The property is in a Level 2 Distress Area.

That is defined as an area where the median household income is below 60 percent and the percentage of the unemployed labor force is higher than 25 percent of the countywide average. 

The economic development office summary says the building needs significant upgrades to meet building code requirements and be retrofitted for manufacturing.

Wrist Ship Supply Co. has about five years remaining on a lease there for 21,200 square feet of space. 

Eastern Wire would occupy the other 56,800 square feet of space and expand into the Wrist space when its lease expires or if it chooses to terminate the lease.

Eastern Wire’s products are made to support the recycling and construction industries. Its customers primarily are east of the Mississippi River. 

Eastern Wire says the cost to upgrade the building and install infrastructure is a material factor in its site decision.

“EWP prefers to remain in Northwest Jacksonville and upgrade the building to meet health and safety codes and their manufacturing infrastructure needs,” the summary says.




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