May 30, 2015


Business

The Price is right for $14.5-million expansion

Province, city contribute to state-of-the-art facilities

Gerry Price tours his company's facilities with Premier Greg Selinger.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Gerry Price tours his company's facilities with Premier Greg Selinger. Photo Store

Price Industries Ltd. has announced a $14.5-million expansion of its Winnipeg manufacturing/research headquarters that will create 150 new jobs over the next five years.

Gerry Price, chairman and CEO of the Price Group of Companies, told a news conference Monday the 50,000-square-foot expansion will include the construction of a new state-of-the-art training facility and sophisticated testing areas.

It will also boost manufacturing capacity at the firm's Raleigh Street production plant.

Price Industries is North America's largest manufacturer of air distribution, heating, ventilation and air conditioning products for the non-residential sector, including high-tech products for hospitals and laboratories.

It also operates one of the most advanced air-distribution and noise-control laboratories in the world out of its sprawling facility here, as well as manufacturing, sales and technical centres in Phoenix, Atlanta and Minneapolis.

The expansion is being undertaken with the help of a $10-million, repayable loan from the province's Manitoba Industrial Opportunities Program (MIOP), and a $1.5-million provincial grant to help train the workers needed for the expansion.

The City of Winnipeg is also providing up to $800,000 in financial assistance through a unique new incremental tax-sharing model that will see the city and Price share the incremental taxes the company would have been paying in the 10 years after the five-year expansion project is completed.

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz said the tax money will go to the city in the even years, and Price will get to keep it on the odd years.

He said the city won't be out of pocket because the tax money Price keeps is money that wouldn't have existed if the expansion weren't undertaken.

Premier Greg Selinger said in addition to the new tax revenue that will be generated, the expansion creates high-skilled jobs for local college and university graduates, expands local training opportunities and cements Price Industries, core research, engineering and product-development operations in Winnipeg.

Bill Morrissey, leader of Yes! Winnipeg, the division of Economic Development Winnipeg that assisted in the negotiations between the Price Group and the two levels of government, said the expansion also creates spinoff economic benefits for other local firms hired to work on the project or to supply building materials and supplies.

"This is indeed a very exciting day for Winnipeg and for Manitoba," Morrissey added.

Price admitted the cost of doing business is higher here than in Phoenix or Atlanta, and the expansion likely wouldn't have happened here without the help from the two levels of government.

However, the longtime Winnipeg booster said there are also some compelling reasons for expanding here, rather than south of the border, including the "world-class" engineering graduates the University of Manitoba produces each year.

He said the company has also discovered it can be successful if it produces most of its lower-priced products at its U.S. plants, and focuses on R and D work and producing higher-priced, high-tech, niche products at its Winnipeg facility.

Although the North American non-residential air-distribution industry still hasn't recovered from the 2008-09 global recession, Price said the Price Group of Companies has nevertheless seen its employment grow from about 500 workers in the early 1990s to more than 2,400 today, including about 850 in Winnipeg.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 13, 2014 B5

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