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Former New Venture Gear plant may have new tenant

Ryan Delaney

The old New Venture Gear auto parts factory in suburban Syracuse could have a new tenant much quicker than county economic development officials expected.

A newly formed company called American Intermodal Container Manufacturing Inc. wants to use about half of the large factory to make shipping containers.

New Venture Gear concluded a long shutdown of its DeWitt plant in August. It once employed 4,000 people making parts for SUVs.

AICM officials say they'll make larger 53 foot containers that can be used to move freight on trucks or railcars, but not by sea. The old industry standard is 20 or 40 foot containers (which fit on ships), but AICM hopes to capitalize on the transition to the larger containers in North America.

Company director John Maguire told county economic development officials Monday that the containers are permitted for use in the United States, but made mostly in China.

AICM is before the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA) to seek financing and tax break assistance for the project.

OCIDA expressed excitement the plant will be back in use quickly.

"We believe that we have the resources, both the human resources and the roadways and railways that make these kinds of projects very desirable," said OCIDA chairwoman Donna DeSiato.

Maguire told OCIDA they hope to open next spring. They would employ about 190 people and be able to turn out 50 containers a day. He declined to comment to the press after his presentation.

AICM will spend about $95 million on the project. OCIDA will help the company with bonding. The manufacturer will also seek a property tax abatement and sales and mortgage tax exemptions. Those details will be worked out in the coming months, according to OCIDA executive director Mary Beth Primo.

"A company that obviously has a vision and a model for growth in an industry that’s needing to grow and keep jobs right here in our country and more importantly our state is really a win-win," added DeSiato.