Intertape Polymer Group said this week it would move its South Beltline Boulevard plant to another spot in Richland County in the next two years as it looks to modernize its operations.
The move will mean a reduction in the 350-person workforce, company officials said in a press release posted on their website. The downsizing will be handled through attrition and voluntary separations, they said. But efforts to reach company officials late Thursday for more details were unsuccessful.
The move will save the company $13 million per year in productivity gains and energy savings, officials said. The company is still looking for a spot to move, but is not looking outside Richland County, spokesman Pierre Boucher said earlier Thursday.
The plant has been in operation for half a century and no longer fits the company’s needs, officials said in the release. The $26 million investment will allow Intertape to increase its productivity, provide a better working environment for employees and install advanced environmental controls, they said.
Intertape’s move from South Beltline means the area would lose another industry that has sometimes sparked neighborhood concerns.
In March 2003, a boiler explosion at Intertape rocked homes and shattered windows in the area. A worker died in the explosion and the company later was fined $3,000 for safety violations.
Seven years later, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency audit found that the company did not monitor or report lead concentrations in wastewater at least twice.
Cardinal Chemical, which was next door to Intertape, was forced by state regulators to close in 2000 after toxic, tin-based chemicals were released into Columbia’s wastewater system.
The small industrial corridor is near the intersection of South Beltline and Shop Road along the banks of Gills Creek. It is near the Rosewood neighborhood, where neighbors have in the past complained about odors from manufacturing operations.
Intertape – which is based in Bradenton, Fla., and Montreal, Quebec – bought Anchor Continental Inc., one of Columbia’s oldest manufacturing companies, in 1998.
The layout of the current building is not compatible with new manufacturing equipment that is being purchased, officials said.
“Intertape will be undertaking its largest single facility improvement in many years,” Gregory Yull, President and CEO said in a statement, calling it a long-term commitment to the state.
Staff writers Kristy Eppley Rupon and Sammy Fretwell contributed.