Solar Manufacturing Inc. held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for its new manufacturing facility in Sellersville.
James Nagy, the company’s president, said Solar Manufacturing bought two lots, covering 8-and-a-half acres in the Sellersville Business Campus at 900 E. Clymer Ave., Sellersville from the Bucks County Industrial Development Authority.
Gorski Engineering of Collegeville will build a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for the company, which produces industrial furnaces.
The facility will include 40,000 square feet of crane-served manufacturing space for the company to build its high-temperature vacuum heat-treating furnaces.
The building will include a two-story office space of nearly 20,000 square feet. Nagy said the company ships its products all over the U.S. as well as other countries such as Australia, China and Singapore.
The company will bring its 50 employees to the new site, citing steady growth over the past 15 years and more growth expected.
“We are basically tripling our office and manufacturing space,” Nagy said. “Currently we are in our headquarters but we had to acquire another facility, then we outgrew that one.”
Its headquarters is at 1983 Clearview Road in Hilltown Township near Souderton and its second facility is at 192 Keystone Drive in Hilltown Township near Telford. The company will repurpose both sites.
Nagy said the company’s CEO, William Jones, owns the Keystone Drive location. Jones will repurpose that building for a new vacuum pump services business he will start as a separate company from Solar Manufacturing.
Meanwhile, Solar Atmospheres, an affiliate company that is a service business, will expand into the space at Solar Manufacturing’s headquarters at Clearview Road, Nagy said.
The Bucks County IDA bought the land for the Sellersville Business Campus for $1 million in 2013 from Ametek, said Peter Krauss, the organization’s executive director. The campus covers 44 acres and Krauss said the IDA put in $2 million in improvements to remedy the brownfield to create a site for manufacturers.
The site had been the home of US Gauge, a global supplier of pressure gauges that once employed more than a 1,000 people.
“It’s the first time we ever bought and acquired a business center,” Krauss said. “When we acquired it, we had to clear the land and repair it, added the infrastructure, all the improvements.”
The site offers a 100 percent Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act approved tax incentive program that allows business owners to pay no taxes on improvements for up to five years, Krauss said.
The IDA bought six lots and is selling four remaining properties, all of which are on vacant land. So far, the Sellersville Business Center has generated a lot of interest since the organization began marketing it about six months ago, he said.
“We could not have hoped for a better first buyer,” Krauss said. “We want good tenants who will pay good wages.”
Furthermore, he said almost all the subcontractors for building Solar Manufacturing’s new facility would come from the Bucks, Montgomery and Lehigh County areas, so the construction will bring local jobs, he said.
The total $8 million project includes the costs for the purchase of the land, site work, construction of the new building and the big-ticket equipment to fit out the new manufacturing facility such as cranes, utilities infrastructure such as electrical power transformers and additional new machinery, Nagy said.
The entire project should be complete in early 2019.
Univest Bank and Trust Co. of Souderton provided the financing for the project, he said.