By VERNON ROBISON
The town of Mesquite was chosen to house a new state-of-the-art aluminum can manufacturing plant. On Friday, September 24, Crown Holdings, Inc, a global Fortune 300 company, announced that its new plant in the Southwestern United States will be located in the Mesquite Technology and Commerce Center.
The new 355,000 square foot facility will supply beverage cans to the company’s business customers across the western United States, according to a statement released by the company on Friday.
The plant is expected to begin operations in the second quarter of 2023 and will create 126 new jobs in the community, the statement said.
“Obviously, we are delighted! Mesquite Mayor Al Litman said in an interview with The Progress on Friday. “It will bring good paying jobs and a lot of taxpayer money to the city.”
Litman said the project will provide a solid option for more of the region’s young people to stay here and pursue viable careers.
“It’s a company that offers good salaries and great retirement benefits and everything in between,” Litman said. “And, you know, it’s pretty rare in private industry these days. So they obviously have a corporate philosophy of retaining employees for the long term. Their employees have a reason to stay.
The agreement bringing Crown Holdings to Mesquite has been in preparation for several months. Due to a nondisclosure agreement prohibiting the disclosure of the name and other vital company information to the public, the Crown Holdings project was simply referred to in the city as “Project Washboard”.
The deal was guided through the process by Mesquite resident and businessman Cody Law. Law’s firm, Citywide Consulting, has been under contract to provide economic development services in Mesquite since February of this year.
In an interview with The Progress, Law said that after the deal was struck, Crown Holdings officials admitted that they initially planned to drop by and take a look at Mesquite as a formality.
“They were just doing their due diligence with the actual plans to go elsewhere in a larger market,” Law said. “But they said that was really what we were doing, and the red carpet treatment they got here, that convinced them of Mesquite.”
The initial direction of Crown Holdings came from the Governor’s Office for Economic Development through the Las Vegas World Economic Alliance (LVGEA), Law said.
“Most large companies go through the LVGEA first so they can apply for tax breaks and other state-level incentives first,” Law said. “If they come straight to me at the community level, then they have to climb up the ranks for these incentives later and that doesn’t make sense. But they had heard of Mesquite before, even before calling LVGEA.
Law said he contacted the site selector for Crown Holdings and set up a meeting with him and the company’s vice president of engineering in May.
“We pitched a tent and met them at the proposed site,” Law said. “We told them the story of Mesquite and they liked what they heard.”
Two weeks later, in early June, the chairman of the company and a group of executives from Crown Holdings exited on a company plane to take a closer look at Mesquite.
“We drank them and had dinner,” Law said. “We picked them up in a limo at the St. George airport and brought them here. We took them to the golf courses and they got to play some golf. We had a good dinner with the elected officials of the city and others. They also met with small business owners as well as key executives from our major local businesses. I introduced them to specific owners so they could hear the story of why other people chose to start and maintain businesses in Mesquite.
“I made it an intimate experience,” Law added. “And when they left, the president of the company told me that he wanted to be able to come and set up the company himself here. He loved this place.
Shortly after this trip, Law received the message that Crown Holdings had made a decision and that they were ready to bring the business to Mesquite.
Law said the deal would “be a game-changer” for Mesquite. The massive manufacturing plant will bring $ 181 million in capital investment to the city, before anyone is even hired, Law said. The average starting salary for employees will range between $ 50,000 and $ 60,000 for the company. And the property tax revenue alone for the project will bring more than $ 8 million to the City over a ten-year period.
“Plus, it’s a company that wants to be very involved in the community,” Law added. “They will sponsor Little League and soccer teams and support many community efforts and initiatives.”
City Councilor George Gault said in an interview that he is thrilled the deal is finally coming to an end and happening. Gault is also chairman of the board of directors of Mesquite Works, a non-profit organization seeking to develop a stronger regional workforce for communities in northeast Clark County.
Gault said the project will bring challenges, especially in quickly building an adequate and trained workforce in Mesquite. But Gault said he and others have already worked to provide training and certification programs locally that will prepare the workforce for these new skilled manufacturing positions.
“We are looking forward to a Zoom meeting with company officials as well as people from Workforce Connections and the College of Southern Nevada (CSN),” said Gault. “That way we can identify the timeline of their needs. “
There will be some time – while the company completes grading and earthwork on its site, then goes through the construction process on the facility. Meanwhile, Gault said these needed training resources can be developed in the city.
“We have good resources with CSN here,” Gault said. “They are very flexible and responsive to our needs. I am convinced that we will be able to meet the needs of this project.
Litman said another challenge would be to provide adequate housing in the city for this larger workforce. But solutions to this problem are also underway, he said. Several large multi-family housing developments were recently approved by city council and will be under construction even as the Crown Holdings project moves forward, Litman said.
“We have all of these new apartments, which are already on the books, that will start to hit the market,” Litman said. “So I think the timing is going to be very good and that everything is falling into place. It was very good news today!