Tile company to bring 98 jobs

Published 10:14 pm Thursday, February 11, 2016

CenterPoint Intermodal Center in Suffolk is getting a new tenant that plans to invest $16.25 million and create 98 new jobs, according to an announcement Thursday morning by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Emser Tile, a designer, marketer and producer of tile and natural stone, will establish an East Coast distribution center at CenterPoint’s facility off Holland Road.

“This new distribution location in the City of Suffolk will allow strategic access to customers and unrivaled logistics efficiency through the Port of Virginia,” the governor stated in a press release announcing the project.

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Virginia was competing with South Carolina for the company’s facility, the release stated.

City Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes heralded the trend of companies who have traditionally imported products through the West Coast expanding to the East Coast. Many of them have chosen Suffolk as they’ve done so, he said.

“The thing that’s significant with this is a trend of operations that predominantly brought products through the West Coast are looking for an opportunity to diversify how they distribute and bring goods to the country,” Hughes said.

He added the building will be located directly behind the Friant building in the CenterPoint development.

“Emser is thrilled to be working with the City of Suffolk and Virginia,” Emser Vice President of Marketing Bob Baldocchi stated in the governor’s release. “This new facility represents a significant milestone in our long-term expansion and growth plans.”

McAuliffe has promised a $250,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to help with the project. The company, the release added, will also benefit from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program. The Virginia Jobs Investment Program will provide funding and services associated with employee training.

Hughes said the city has also proposed a grant, which will be considered by the Economic Development Authority at its March meeting. The first phase of the building, at 400,000 square feet, could be eligible for a $275,500 grant through the Economic Development Investment Program, Hughes said. That alone would make it the largest building in CenterPoint.

A second phase, an additional 300,000 square feet, would get another $265,000, Hughes said. The second phase will be “probably easily north of $14 million” in additional investment, Hughes said.

“We are thrilled that Emser Tile selected Suffolk’s CenterPoint Intermodal Center as the location for their new East Coast distribution center,” Suffolk Mayor Linda T. Johnson stated in the governor’s release.

Emser Tile was established in 1968 in Los Angeles. The company offers porcelain, ceramic, natural-stone, metal, glass and quarry products for interior and exterior applications.

Hughes said the company hopes the facility will be operational by the end of this year. Average salaries are expected to range from $35,000 for warehouse workers to $60,000 for management.