The City Council voted Wednesday to help a California-based company get a $10 million industrial revenue bond so the company can buy and refurbish a Spanish Fork plant.
American Metal Foundry plans to purchase the Kirby building on the north side of town, near I-15. The plant will manufacture mopeds, adult two-seater tricycles, four-wheel-drive light utility tractors, manufactured housing for export, and motor homes, AMF spokesman George Klinell said.Within two years, AMF expects to employ 600 workers and earn $200 million in annual revenue, Klinell said.
"That should bring Spanish Fork about $5 million in taxes each year," he said.
But Klinell is not sure of the exact timetable for production to begin.
"First we need to get this bond arranged, then our engineers need to take a look at the building and see what work it needs."
He said the 210,000-square-foot building is in pretty bad shape.
"But we got a good deal on it, and it's a lot of space. You could almost fit three football fields inside, laid end to end.
"And it's on 30 acres. The company is already talking about expanding, which is amazing with a building that size."
AMF officials are pleased that the site is near a railroad line, Klinell said. And power rates are exactly half what they would be at a Los Angeles site the company had been ready to purchase. Klinell said he also is excited about the raw materials available in Utah.
"Geneva Steel is just across the boulevard.
"But the main reason we chose Utah was for the people," Klinell said. "When AMF asked me what I thought as a former Utah resident, I could speak from the heart. I told them about the strong work ethic and family values. I told them we would not have so many problems with workers without green cards as in L.A. And we wouldn't have half the workers staying home drunk and the other half coming in doped up.
"One TV reporter tried to make me say the company was worried the Mormon influence in the area would be a problem. He really pushed it. Well, the Mormon influence was a plus, not a minus.
"And Utah is much less congested than L.A. You think you have traffic here, but you are wrong. They say the best deal in Los Angeles is the free parking - on the freeway.
"AMF is so impressed, they are considering moving the head office here."
AMF has been in business for 100 years, but the current owner bought it two years ago, Klinell said.
"Most of the inventory has been boxed up, waiting for us to find a site, but once we get the plant in operation, our 14,000 dealerships will be reactivated," he said.
Klinell said AMF was ready to build in California, but a friend reminded him of the advantages in Utah, which he explained to AMF officials.
"We hijacked the project from Los Angeles."
David Oyler, Spanish Fork city administrator, said he was excited about AMF's interest in the area.
The council also approved expansion plans for the Spanish Fork Medical Clinic and Hickory Kist, a beef jerky manufacturer.
"Not a bad night for Spanish Fork," he said.
The $10 million industrial revenue bond proposal, approved unanimously by the council, allows AMF to use the local government's credit rating and tax-free borrowing status to get a lower interest rate. The bonds are not a liability against the city's assets.