CRETE | Universal Steel America is celebrating the grand opening of its new greenfield plate processing facility formerly located in Gary.
The company, which first opened facilities in Gary and Houston in 2001, processes heavy carbon and alloy steel plate for the energy, mining, heavy construction equipment, infrastructure, oil, gas and wind power industries.
The new 85,000-square-foot plant includes the latest technology processing machinery for supplying high-definition steel plate parts to Midwestern industrial users.
The facility's 35 employees have been relocated from a leased site on Industrial Highway near Gary/Chicago International Airport.
"We wanted to own and build our own facility so we could expand and grow, but didn't want to move too far from Gary because most of our employees live in that area," said Greg Shunk, president of Universal Steel America Chicago. "Crete afforded us a green field opportunity without having our employees travel too far. And the village was very receptive to our coming."
The plant, which buys steel plate from domestic and foreign sources, opened in April and is in a tax increment financing district and will receive TIF benefits from the village for 10 years.
Crete Village President Michael Einhorn said the village is very pleased to have the industrial development come to his community.
"It's a big plus to the area," Einhorn said. "It brings jobs as well as development so its presence here is very important to our future. I think it will be a great addition to the landscape of the village."
The plant's 15–acre site at 225 W. Burville Road gives the company the ability to add more than 200,000 square feet of space for future expansion, Shunk said.
"We have same size facility in Houston that employs 54, so we expect to grow to 50 to 55 workers in our new facility, and we have plenty of room to expand as we grow our business," he said.
The ISO–certified company's focus is on processing plate and adding value, which currently comprises 80 percent of its sales, Shunk said.
Universal Steel America is a one of almost 200 German and international subsidiaries of Salzgitter AG, which is based in Salzgitter, Germany.