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Ventra Plastics plans $16M expansion into Sassy Baby facility in Kentwood

Nov 14th, 2013 - Local News

(Mlive) KENTWOOD, MI — An Illinois-based auto supplier is expanding its manufacturing operations in West Michigan after landing a new contract and state development incentives, state officials say.

Ventra Plastics, a division of Flex-N-Gate Corp. of Urbana, Ill., plans to remodel the Sassy Baby Products plant at 2305 Breton Industrial Park Dr. SE and hire 150 new employees in the next three years, according to The Right Place Inc.

The $16.3 million Ventra expansion is aided by $650,000 from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and a possible property tax break from the city of Kentwood.

Therese Thill, vice president of business development at The Right Place, said the state money is a performance-based grant from the MEDC’s Michigan Strategic Fund, and Ventra only gets paid after they create the promised number of new jobs.

A press release from the MEDC indicated the promised number of jobs was 181.

Executives at the Sassy Inc. facility in Kentwood declined to comment on whether the company was closing local operations or moving.

Ventra officials declined to discuss the expansion.

Kentwood Planning Director Terry Schweitzer said Ventra has only submitted a partial property tax abatement application, and nothing has yet been scheduled with the city commission.

Kentwood allows up to an eight-year abatement on equipment and a 12-year abatement on real estate, Schweitzer said.

Thill said Ventra, which makes tail lights for Ford, Chrysler and General Motors vehicles at the existing Kentwood plant, is expanding after landing a new contract to make automotive lighting products. The expansion will also allow Ventra to pursue other contracts.

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