TigHitco, Titan Atlas looking to invest $21 million, create 500 local jobs

InterTech Group executives Jonathan Zucker and Anita Zucker announced on Sept. 14 their family-owned company’s plans to build the TigHitco plant.

Brad Nettles

At a time when most businesses are still hesitant to spend and expand, two manufacturers are looking to buck the trend by investing more than $21 million to create at least 500 local jobs.

Charleston County's finance committee on Thursday approved two incentive deals being offered to an aerospace division of The InterTech Group Inc. and to a company that makes prefabricated energy-efficient homes from concrete.

The proposals now move on for a series of reviews and approvals by County Council.

Both companies would receive standard incentives for manufacturers, including a 6 percent assessment rate on equipment and property instead of 10.5 percent. Also, that rate would be essentially fixed for 20 years, and the companies would receive tax credits or financial assistance to help pay for infrastructure improvements, such as sewer work.

The better-known of the two businesses is InterTech's TigHitco Inc. unit, which last week unveiled plans to build a plant in Palmetto Commerce Park in North Charleston.

Once fully staffed, the payroll is projected to reach $9.5 million annually, with roughly 20 percent of the jobs expected to be for engineers and skilled administrative and technical workers.

Other incentives TigHitco is set to receive include workforce training furnished by the state's ReadySC program and a $50,000 county grant for utility work.

Company officials said last week that they hope to break ground on the 25-acre site by the end of the year and have the $14.5 million first phase of the project -- totaling 120,000 square feet -- completed by fall 2012. It is expected to hire about 300 workers within five years, the county said.

Future investments could expand the factory to 300,000 square feet, which would bring the total cost to $30 million to $40 million.

TigHitco, which specializes in aerospace parts made from composite materials, is a supplier to Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, which is assembled in North Charleston and Seattle, but officials would not say what will be made in the new plant.

The other company up for incentives is Titan Atlas Manufacturing, which bought the former Lockheed plant in North Charleston's Stark Industrial Park for $1.5 million last year. It has since has put another into the $11 million into the business, the county said.

Titan Atlas now is planning to invest $6.7 million on new improvements and bring its headcount to 200 workers over five years. The estimated annual payroll at full employment would be $6.4 million.

The company makes, among other products, low-cost prefabricated housing kits from concrete panels for use in disaster-relief efforts and for residents of developing countries. Titan Atlas could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 and follow him at twitter.com/kearney_brendan. Reach John McDermott at 937-5572.