This story has been updated to correct the expansion's completion date and specify the product made in Arconic's Alcoa plant.
Aluminum maker Arconic will bring 70 new jobs to its existing plant in Blount County, an investment of more than $100 million, the company announced Wednesday.
“They’re expanding their plant in Alcoa,” said Jeff Muir, Blount Partnership communications director. The Alcoa factory makes aluminum sheet for automotive and industrial use.
The ALCOA plant tower is pictured with a portion of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority's runway and taxiway construction project Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, at McGhee Tyson Airport. A nearly 40-year-old runway is being removed and reconstructed in a multi-year project.
Paul Efird/News Sentinel
Hot mill capacity expansion underway
The expansion of Arconic’s hot mill capacity is already underway, and should be finished by the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the news release. Customers have committed for most of the expanded capacity, and demand for sheet aluminum is expected to double in the next decade, the news release said. This follows a $300 million expansion in the plant’s sheet aluminum production in 2015.
"This investment will add capacity to meet growing demand for industrial products and automotive aluminum sheet,” Tim Myers, president of Arconic’s Global Rolled Products business, said in the news release. "With this expansion, we are further diversifying the portfolio of one of our largest North American facilities.”
The added jobs will bring the factory’s total to 985 employees, Muir said. That’s far behind the company’s peak in the area, and less than DENSO, which employs several thousand in nearby Maryville; but still substantial, he said.
More: Alcoa formally transitions to Arconic
Gov. Bill Haslam, left, and Alcoa Inc. CEO Klaus Kleinfeld take part in a groundbreaking for a $275 million expansion of the Alcoa Inc. rolling mill to produce automotive sheet aluminum on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Alcoa. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)
Paul Efird/News Sentinel
“The Industrial Development Board along with the cities of Alcoa and Maryville is pleased to see this commitment from Arconic,” Muir said. “We are happy to see Arconic continue to invest in its Tennessee Operations, because a project of this nature is so highly competitive on a worldwide scale. The facility continues to evolve with the changing landscape of the automotive industry and it’s nice to see Arconic offer very competitive wages.”
Arconic will invest at least $110 million in new equipment, and the resulting jobs will pay an average of $43,500, plus benefits, according to an incentive resolution from the Industrial Development Board of Blount County. That’s well above the average wage in Blount County, Muir said.
“From what I understand, it was a highly competitive worldwide search to do this thing, and it was nice that they stuck with Alcoa considering that they’ve been a good corporate citizen for us for well over 100 years,” he said.
Metal cylinder with Arconic logo and information engraved on it.
Partial tax abatement of $1.3M
In return, the company gets a 6-year partial tax abatement worth $1.3 million, but the project is still expected to generate nearly $2.3 million in new property tax revenue, the resolution says.
“It’s a very positive sign that the Arconic corporation sees value in expanding on the Alcoa site considering the long legacy it has in the community,” Muir said. “It has been an outstanding corporate citizen for more than 100 years and looks to be well on its way for 100 more.”
Arconic spun off from historic aluminum-maker Alcoa Inc. in 2016. The company has a long history in Blount County – the adjacent city, formerly North Maryville, incorporated as Alcoa in 1919 and served largely as a company town.
The local Alcoa plants employed more than 11,000 at their peak during World War II, but shrank over the years. The company shuttered its smelting plant in 2012.