Chester County lands polyethylene film maker, creating 300 jobs

An economic development project first approved by Chester County in 2006 finally became reality this week.

Poly-America, a polyethylene film manufacturer, announced it will build a plant on 198 acres it owns on S.C. 9 (Lancaster Highway), investing $100 million in the plant and creating 300 jobs.

The company’s South Carolina operations will be under the name Carolina Poly, Inc.

Poly-America makes trash bags, plastic sheeting, silage bags and shrink film.

The new Chester County facility will be about 475,000 square feet and is expected to be operating by mid-2017. Hiring is expected to begin in late 2016.

Karlisa Parker, Chester County’s economic developer, said the county first approved the project in 2006, but the recession put construction on hold. She and other Chester County officials kept in contact with Poly-America. They wanted to know if the company was still interested in the project or get it to release the 198 acres on Lancaster Highway.

“We could have sold that ten times over,” Parker said.

Chester County officials decided to honor the deal made in 2006. Parker called that deal very “aggressive,” offering tax incentives the county probably wouldn’t offer now.

The deal includes a fee-in-lieu agreement which reduces the company property tax rate to 6 percent instead of 10.5 percent for the next 25 years. On top of that, the county approved a special source credit, which will reduce the company’s tax rate by 72 percent for the next six years.

The state’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved a $1.8 million Rural Infrastructure Fund grant to assist with the costs of real property improvements, as well as job development credits related to the project. That deal was also made in 2006, Parker said.

Parker said the county decided to continue to pursue Poly-America because the company’s manufacturing jobs match the skills of county residents trained in the textile industry.

“They wanted people who understood production work, shifts and loyalty,” Parker said.

Trent Mallory, vice president of sales for Carolina Poly, said in a release his firm needed “to stay ahead of growing customer demand for our products and to realize logistical efficiencies in servicing our customers in the Southeast and Northeast.”

The Chester County plant met those goals.

Parker said work on the site should start soon.

Don Worthington: 803-329-4066, @rhherald_donw