ROGERS CITY - The owner of an Onaway metal fabrication business has bought land in Rogers City's airport industrial zone.
Moran Iron Works owner Tom Moran reached a purchase agreement with the Presque Isle County Economic Development Corporation for 22.6 acres of land in Rogers City. That's according to Target Alpena Director Jim Klarich, who shared the news with Presque Isle County commissioners Friday. The EDC executed a purchase agreement Thursday, although Klarich didn't give a price.
It's part of Moran Iron Works' continuing growth, Moran said, and he bought the six lots for one purpose - building. He's not planning to use the lots as storage, and wants to build a production facility some time in the future. The company's workload is expanding exponentially and its product is trucked to the Port of Calcite along a road corridor. Any major construction on the bridges along this route could drastically impact his business.
There's no start date for construction yet, Moran said, although he doesn't intend to let the lots sit empty for long.
"It could be two to six years, it's not going to be long into the future," he said. "The building itself will take a year to design at the minimum, and we'd be putting about $5 to $6 million into it."
One set of lots is directly adjacent to Gilpin Field, while another is south of the county airport runway, Klarich said. Moran said each lot has its advantages, with one needing less development and providing opportunities for different kinds of fabrications. Another would allow Moran's company to build very heavy structures without the need to transport them by road, but a bridge under Business Route 23 would limit the size.
Moran isn't seeking tax abatements for the land, nor is the purchase agreement tied to any job creation. Any jobs created at the sites will be part of the company's overall gradual growth.
Board Chairman Carl Altman said he's glad to see the property go to good use, and hopes the move leads to new jobs in the county.
"The good news is we've got a get-things-done purchaser with Tom Moran," he said. "I don't think he's going to purchase it and let it sit idle."
In other business, commissioners appointed Terry Larson to serve on the Northern Michigan Regional Entity substance abuse advisory board. He currently represents the county on the Northern Michigan Substance Abuse board, but the organization's duties will be transferred as the state reorganizes how community mental health authorities are administered.
Altman said he was glad to appoint someone with the experience Larson has to the position, and the county will study how the new advisory board works over Larson's three-year term.