Work continues on new Owens Corning plant; could open later this year

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,700 views 

Owens Corning on June 13 received its fourth building permit in the past two years at its new facility at 5401 Excelsior Drive. The recent permit issued by the city of Fort Smith was valued at $47.7 million.

In February 2021 the company began to build a new 550,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, adjacent to its existing plant on Planters Road. The global building and construction materials company announced in October it is investing in machinery and new construction at its existing plant. The estimated $115 million project is expected to add five jobs with an approximate annual salary of $85,000 per year.

The company has three other open building permits for the 5401 Excelsior Drive Location – a $4 million new construction project permitted on Sept. 14, 2021; a $15.4 million project listed as “other” permitted on Oct. 13, 2021; and $3.7 million “other” project permitted on July 2, 2021.

Owens Corning’s Fort Smith plant began production in 1985. Ed Ford, plant leader for Owens Corning in Fort Smith, said the new facility is expected to be complete and operational by late this year or early 2024. Owens Corning’s existing Fort Smith plant – located near the Gerdau (MacSteel) plant – began production in 1984 and produces mat for roofing shingles and other nonwoven products.

The Fort Smith Board of Directors approved two ordinances Oct. 4 regarding $138 million in Industrial Revenue Bonds related to the new plant. The first authorized the issuance of up to $115 million in Industrial Development Revenue Bonds on behalf of Owens Corning Composite Materials, LLC, including the construction of a manufacturing facility together with related machinery, equipment and other personal property. The second authorized the issuance of $23 million in Industrial Development Revenue Bonds on behalf of FM Ft. Smith, LLC for the purpose of financing new manufacturing and warehouse facilities for use by Owens Corning Composite Materials, LLC., specifically a 420,000-square-foot warehouse at 5101 Excelsior Drive.

The primary advantage of industrial revenue bonds is reduced property taxes on the project, a memo on the ordinances said.