JENKINS TWP. — The name and stylized cursive logo may be familiar to you from old-time canning jars.
But the Colorado-based Ball Corp. has long since moved out of the glass business, diversifying into high-tech aluminum packaging and even aerospace work.
And now Ball has plans to bring 230 full-time jobs to northeastern Pennsylvania with the creation of an aluminum beverage packaging plant in a modern industrial building at the former Techneglas site, 140 Industrial Drive, Jenkins Township.
Ball has pledged to invest approximately $360 million into the project over multiple years, according to a statement released Wednesday.
The project will generate more than $16 million in new employment payroll for the region.
“Ball is excited to expand into Pennsylvania to build a state-of-the art manufacturing plant to support the growth of our customers in infinitely recyclable aluminum beverage packaging,” said Colin J. Gillis, president of Ball Beverage Packaging North & Central America. “We appreciate the cooperation between state and local agencies as part of the site selection process, and we look forward to being part of the Pittston community.”
Michelle Mikitish, executive vice president of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, said she is excited for the new opportunities that will be created by the project.
“We’re excited about having them,” she said. “We’re excited that they’re bringing some new jobs to the area.”
Mikitish said that the jobs are coming at an opportune time, with many Pennsylvanians out of work in the wake of the pandemic.
“COVID has hit certain employment sectors harder than others; if people who are unemployed are courageous enough to make a career move, there will certainly be opportunities at Ball Corporation and in the rest of the industrial park,” she said.
Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 18,300 people worldwide and reported 2019 net sales of $11.5 billion.
Mikitish also added that she is excited to see a new company take over the former Techneglas site.
Previously known as OI-NEG and Owens-Illinois, Techneglas was built in 1968 off Route 315 to manufacture television face plates, the thick glass coverings on picture tube televisions. In its heyday in the mid to late 1990s, more than 2,500 people were employed there. It closed in 2004 and was transformed into a warehouse, distribution and manufacturing center.
Bala Cynwyd-based IDC Property LP purchased the Techneglas property from Pittston Industrial LLC for $5.2 million in January 2013, and the site at 140 Industrial Drive was renamed the Interstate Distribution Center, county property records show.
The original structure and its 170-foot-high silos were demolished in 2014 and 2015 to make way for new development.
Through the project, Ball will purchase and retrofit an existing 1,078,799-square-foot industrial building on site to create a multi-line sustainable aluminum beverage packaging manufacturing operation.
For more information about job opportunities at the Jenkins Township plant or at other Ball locations, visit Ball’s careers site, https://jobs.ball.com/.
Gov. Tom Wolf also praised the project, which was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, a group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania.
“Ball Corporation has a longstanding presence in the international marketplace, and Pennsylvania is pleased with the company’s commitment to expand its manufacturing facilities in the northeast,” Wolf said. “This project will inject much-needed revenue into the region, create new, high-paying jobs, and provide a lasting impact on the surrounding community.”
Ball received a proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for up to $2 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project (RACP) funding to be distributed upon the creation of the new jobs, $400,000 in funding for workforce development training, and may be eligible for the Manufacturing Tax Credit Program and a Qualified Manufacturing Deduction.
“Ball chose Pittston (Jenkins Township) for its new facility because of the existing infrastructure, proximity to main distribution routes, regional labor base, the cooperation of state and local officials during the site selection process and Pennsylvania’s focus on sustainable growth,” the company’s statement indicated.
“Infinitely recyclable and economically valuable, Ball’s aluminum cans, bottles and cups enable a truly circular economy in which materials can be and actually are used again and again. In fact, 75 percent of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today,” the statement added.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.