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Roanoke County announces $93.5 million dollar business investment

By David Kaplan, dkaplan@wdbj7.com
Published On: Aug 06 2013 04:03:53 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 06 2013 06:52:18 PM EDT

An international company called the Ardagh Group is investing $93.5 million in the county.

ROANOKE CO., Va. -

Big economic news to share this evening, 96 new jobs are coming to the Roanoke Valley.

And the company adding those jobs already has its sights on adding more.

Today, an international company called the Ardagh Group announced a $93.5 million dollar investment to buy this building and convert it into a facility that can produce cans.

The announcement has county and state leaders very excited.

For nearly three years, many saw the vacant, 500,000 square foot Hanover Direct Building as an eyesore.

James Willich, the CEO of the Ardagh group saw a perfect fit.

"We saw some other distribution buildings, but they're really not suited for manufacturing," said Ardagh, "We saw the building, the building excited us.

Today's announcement is also a big deal for the commonwealth of Virginia.

The state gave $750,000 dollars to Roanoke County to help Ardagh's transition.

"It means a lot that they chose, they could have chose anyone, they chose Virginia and Roanoke County, so it means a lot. It means we have a great work force it means we have a good quality of life. It means we have a great place to live work and play," said Jim Cheng, Virginia's Commerce Secretary who came down to Roanoke County for the announcement.

"The location is right, the access to the logistics is right, the infrastructure is right, the support from the local government is right, the support from the state government is right," Willich said.

The group hopes to have the factory running by July of next year.

Already, James Willich has his eye on expanding even more and creating more jobs he says will be above the median income for Roanoke County.

"We have the ability to expand so we could roughly double the size of the building, make it a million square foot," Willich said, tThat's our dream that we get this facility up and running and in a couple years we can announce an expansion."

The reason Willich is so confident about the ability to expand; the Ardagh group, just signed a long-term deal with a major food distributor, ConAgra foods, and is looking at partnerships with other distributors.

He couldn't tell me how long, but said that deal is why the group made this investment in the first place and is looking forward to a long relationship with Roanoke County.

Willich says this is the sixth canning facility they'll open in the United States.

Once up and running, this facility will produce 5 million cans per day, or 5% of the demand in the entire country.