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San Patricio leaders to consider incentives for $1.8B steel mill plant proposal

Posted: 5:42 PM, Feb 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-20 20:05:41-05

San Patricio County is one of three locations being considered for a proposed $1.8 billion steel mill plant.

Steel Dynamics Inc, a Fort Wayne, Ind.- based company, announced Monday that it has plans to build a new manufacturing plant and South Texas is on that short list. The proposal would create 600 full-time jobs with a median salary of about $80,000 a year.

“They really went through an extensive process to get to this point in the game, and we’re hoping that they give us a fair shake to be able to help bring this project to our area,” said Iain Vasey, President/CEO for Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation.

The news has county leaders considering property tax abatements, among other public tax incentives to lure the company to South Texas. Those details have not been made public yet, but are expected soon, Vasey said, who is helping put together a fully-vetted incentive offer.

South Texas is competing with locations in two other states, Vasey said. It could be weeks or even months before the company makes a final decision, he added.

The steel mill site being considered in South Texas is about four miles north of the Sinton area. The area is attractive because of its close proximity to railways, highways, water and electricity, Vasey said. Also, there is an added benefit of recent steel investments in the area.

In 2016, Austrian-based company Voestalpine built a $1.3 billion hot briquette iron plant in Portland. Also in San Patricio County, Chinese-owned TPCO America opened a $1 billion steel pipe rolling facility in 2015.

Those investments have been in the eastern part of the county, said Foster Edwards, executive director of San Patricio Economic Development Corp. That’s what makes the proposed site for Steel Dynamics so appealing for the county because it would spread the investment into an area that hasn’t seen much, he said.

The proposed steel mill would have the capability to produce about 3 million tons of flat roll steel. It’s a material commonly used to manufacture cars and household appliances.

Steel Dynamics plans to begin construction in 2020 with the mill to be fully operational during the second half of 2021, according to a news release from the company issued about the project in November. Only recently did it narrow the list of potential locations.