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A Westbrook-based manufacturer of precision fluid-control equipment has won state support for a $50 million expansion plan that promises as many as 200 new jobs in Connecticut.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced an agreement Wednesday with The Lee Co. that would support expansion of the firm's operations in Essex and Westbrook with a $10 million, low-interest loan. For every 50 new employees, the company would be eligible to receive $2.5 million in loan forgiveness, according to the governor's office.
"This is a win for the company, a win for our employees and a win for Connecticut," William W. Lee, president and chief executive of The Lee Co., said in a statement.
Malloy said state support will keep the company's 862 employees in Connecticut.
"After its founding following the end of World War II, Lee Company quickly became a catalyst for advancing and securing Connecticut's position as a leader in aerospace manufacturing, contributing to both the Space Race and the Jet Age," Malloy said in prepared remarks. "Lee Company has now grown into one of the largest high-tech manufacturers in the world and a leader in its field, all while serving its community and helping to build the state's supply base."
The Lee Co. provides equipment for aerospace, oil exploration, automotive and medical/scientific businesses, among others. Headquartered in Connecticut for more than six decades, the company's 700,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space is located at three sites in Essex and Westbrook.
According to the state, the company plans to add several buildings to its main campus in Westbrook, including 79,000 square feet of manufacturing space.
"For decades, The Lee Company has been a key engine for our local economy - a job creator," said state Sen. Art Linares, a Republican whose 33rd District includes Westbrook. "We look forward to The Lee Company's expansion and continued job growth."
The Lee Co. could earn, in addition to other incentives, up to $10 million in tax credits through the Urban and Industrial Sites Reinvestment Tax Credit Program. A sales and use tax exemption of nearly $1 million will be provided by Connecticut Innovations to help pay for capital improvements, according to the agreement.
The state Department of Economic and Community Development will supply the largest incentive, a $10 million loan with a 2 percent interest rate over 10 years. The money is targeted to the purchase of new machinery and equipment.
"Today's agreement with The Lee Company shows that they are committed to Connecticut, but it is also a signal that manufacturing in this state is as strong as ever," DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith said in a statement.
Also Wednesday, Malloy announced DECD funding for an expansion of A-1 Machining Co. in New Britain, which received approval last week from the State Bond Commission for a $1.25 million loan. The $1.86 million project will create 10 new full-time jobs within three years after the expansion's completion, according to the state, with up to $250,000 in loan forgiveness if A-1 meets targets for job retention and creation.
Malloy's announcements of state support came on the same day that he signed into law the Connecticut Manufacturing Innovation Fund, which will target $30 million to help strengthen the state's manufacturing base.