Foundry Targets Blythewood

BLYTHEWOOD – Approximately 150 acres off I-77 near Westwood High School may soon be the new home of an aluminum foundry, several media outlets reported last week, with Toronto-based Linamar Inc. having narrowed down its search for a new location to the North Point Industrial Park or a site in Asheville, N.C.

The plant could create as many as 300 jobs, according to reports, with a final decision expected by Christmas. Details of the move, however, were still officially under wraps as Richland County and Asheville continue their negotiations with the factory.

“You may have heard of an announcement a few days ago of an (economic development) win right here in your own back yard,” Richland County Council Chairman Torrey Rush told the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce at a breakfast meeting Tuesday. “I can’t speak to that right now because we’re still under a confidentiality agreement. Actually, that information wasn’t supposed to be out yet. Companies like these are saying this city, Blythewood, is a place we want to be.”

The foundry would potentially be located just outside the Blythewood town limits and owned jointly by GF Automotive, a Swiss automobile industry supplier. Linamar would also reportedly acquire the existing Pure Power Technologies plant in Richland County as part of the plan, according to reports.

Pure Power Technologies manufactures fuel injectors for automobiles and employs more than 200 people. Reports stated Pure Power could be used as a finishing plant for automobile components manufactured at the new Linamar-GF foundry.

Linamar and GF Automotive announced last summer their intentions to locate a plant in the southeast for a metal die-casting operation. And even though reports describe the plant as a “foundry,” Ed Parler, Blythewood’s Economic Development Consultant, said it would be unlikely if it would fit into one’s traditional image of a foundry.

“It may be a foundry,” Parler, who was not involved in the recruitment of Linamar, said, “but I wouldn’t think there would be any smelting done there; no obnoxious odors, no smokestacks. It may just be a stamping operation.”

And, Parler said, pollution-belching smokestacks are prohibited in the North Point Industrial Park.

Nevertheless, Linamar will require an air permit from the S.C. Department of health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to discharge pollution; although company representatives reportedly told media outlets last week that Linamar was committed to operating the plant cleanly.

Linamar Inc. was founded in 1966 and employs 19,500 people in 48 plants around the world. GF Automotive is a division of the 200-year-old Georg Fischer Corp., and is one of the leading automotive suppliers in the world. Pure Power Technologies has made a name for itself for its efforts to simultaneously provide jobs and protect the environment.

 

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