Intertape Polymer moving operations to Blythewood, closing 50-year-old plant

Intertape Polymer Group will move its more than 50-year-old South Beltline Boulevard plant to Blythewood in a deal announced Monday.

The company bought a 350,000-square-foot building – formerly home to a Lamson & Sessions distribution center – at 1091 Carolina Pines Drive, the Colliers International commercial real estate firm said in a release Monday.

“The purchase represents a relocation, expansion and modernization of the company’s Beltline Boulevard plant in east Columbia,” the release said. Colliers brokers represented the seller.

The building in Blythewood’s Carolina Pines Industrial Park has been vacant since April 2011.

The purchase represents a $26 million investment by Intertape Polymer to keep its operations in Richland County, spokesman Rick Leckner said.

The modern building will allow the company to update its operations with the latest technology, which will result in a downsizing of its 350-person workforce – a move announced in March.

“The objective is to do this through attrition,” Leckner said, adding he could not say how many workers will be affected.

The move is expected to save the company $13 million a year in energy costs and productivity gains, officials said. In addition to increased productivity, the move will allow the company to provide a better working environment for employees and install advanced environmental controls.

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 the company did not monitor or report lead concentrations in wastewater at least twice.

Intertape – based in Bradenton, Fla., and Montreal, Quebec – bought Anchor Continental Inc., one of Columbia’s oldest manufacturing companies, in 1998.