Up to $100 million in IRBs for PQ Corp. advances; KCK plant plans expansion

A PQ Corp. plant near 18th and Kansas Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas, is planning a $100 million expansion.

The Unified Government Economic Development and Finance Committee gave its approval to a $100 million industrial revenue bond issue for the PQ Corp. at the Monday night meeting. Next, the bond issue will go to the full UG Commission meeting for approval on Nov. 14.

PQ – Zeolyst International has done expansion projects here, and this project will be in addition to the previous ones, according to officials.

The PQ plant, built in 1915, has put in $200 million to $300 million in expansion projects here in the past 10 to 12 years, said Tony Larson, plant manager.

The number of employees at the plant has grown from about 90 employees in 1999 to around 160 currently, and this expansion will raise the number of employees into the 170s, he said. That would be an addition of 17 new jobs.

The plant, on a 25-acre site, makes catalysts that are very environmentally friendly, he said. The catalysts are used by other companies to trap emissions so they don’t enter the atmosphere, he said. PQ also sells catalysts to petrochemical plants that are used in the production process.

The business is expanding because all over the world, more environmental regulations are coming in, he added.

He said the PQ plant is constructing a new building, and it will expand a main production line inside an existing building.

PQ also recently bought a piece of property next to it plant and is remediating it, he said. Eventually it will be used as a parking area. It also has plans to buy another property next to the plant.

Katherine Carttar, UG economic development director, said of the $100 million IRB issue, $30 million would be for construction and $69.9 million would be for equipment and machinery, and about $400,000 would be used for land acquisition.

“The additional jobs that come with this are very well-paying and they would bring the total plant employment to just over 170, which is pretty impressive, especially considering the average salary is $77,000,” Carttar said. That is 46 percent higher than the average salary in the metro area, she added.

“Those are jobs we like to see,” she said.

Also, there would be about 259 temporary construction jobs created with this expansion, she said.

She said the project would have a a 10-year abatement term, and a total 75 percent abatement based on the UG’s policies.

A cost-benefit analysis was done, and it stated that the project exceeded the state’s requirement of a 1-to-3 ratio. The city would receive more than $3 back for each dollar invested and the state would receive more than $6 back for each dollar invested, she said. All taxing jurisdictions meet or exceed the 1-to-3 ratio.

“We think this is a pretty good project,” Carttar said.

It will allow for the expansion of a company that’s been around for over a hundred years, and the UG will benefit immediately from the first day of the project, she said.

Currently, the company is paying about $260,000 in taxes, and as abatements roll off, it will grow to $700,000, she said. In addition to the $700,000, starting in the first year of completion, the incremental property tax value will be more than $300,000 during the course of the abatement, Carttar said. In the 11th year, it will increase to $1.5 million in addition to the $700,000 they will be paying, she said.

“It’s amazing to me how Armourdale ships worldwide,” McKiernan said. “For me, this is one of those projects that is a win-win. Certainly you get the incentives so you have the capacity to expand, but we from day one will benefit not only from property taxes but from jobs available.”

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