A new company is coming to the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, bringing an initial 65 jobs and hopes for 400 or more in about two years.
In a second phase of the development, an unused building at Lake City would undergo a $35 million renovation. The announcement was made Wednesday.
The American Marksman, based in Omaha, is working with Lake City’s operator, ATK Orbital. ATK makes billions of rounds of small-caliber ammunition for the military. The American Marksman takes rounds rejected by the Defense Department, reassembles them and sells them for civilian uses.
“We basically take it apart into its basic components … and we reassemble it as a commercial round,” said CEO Tom Schmidt.
Schmidt said the company looked at five states for this facility, and he stressed that the city of Independence, the Independence Economic Development Council and the state of Missouri were good to work with.
“The state of Missouri just really came out and gave us a nice offer,” Schmidt said.
The company can get up to $1.15 million in state incentives if it creates enough jobs and meets all of the conditions of the Missouri Works program, according to the Department of Economic Development. For five years, the company would get a rebate on its Missouri tax withholdings.
Schmidt said the company already has hired some local employees, all from Independence. To get operations going, it’s awaiting approval from the U.S. Army, which owns the Lake City plant. That approval could come early next month.
A second phase involves renovating 336,000 square feet in a vacant building for which Harry Truman broke ground in the 1940s. The company would ask the city for industrial revenue bonds, a decision that has to go through the City Council. Tom Lesnak, president of the EDC, said that process is likely to get going next summer.
“It’s (the renovation) going to take about two years to complete,” Schmidt said. He said that would add 400 to 450 jobs.
“One of the things that they liked about Missouri is the programs to hire veterans,” said Tom Lesnak, president of the Independence EDC. He said the company also will likely work closely with JobOne, an Eastern Jackson County organization that employs adults with developmental disabilities and that’s been trying to broaden its range of work in recent years.
The state uses programs such as Missouri Works to attract good-paying jobs, particularly in areas such as advanced manufacturing. Schmidt said the jobs at Lake City will range from $15 to $25 an hour, and Lesnak said the average compensation, with benefits such as insurance, exceeds $50,000 a year.
It’s been a productive year for the ECD, with The American Marksman, the recent opening of Menards and other projects.
“This put us over a thousand new jobs for the year,” Lesnak said.
He also said the community has to address some needs.
“We want to attract the jobs that raise the median income in Independence. … And to do that, we’ve got to have industrial space,” Lesnak said.