An expansion at XL Specialized Trailers will bring 65 new jobs to the community thanks to partnerships with the state of Iowa, the City of Manchester and Delaware County Economic Development (DCED).
The recently announced plans call for a 55,000 square foot addition to the existing facility at a cost of between $5-$6 million. The expansion will be a four-phased project and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
XL Specialized Trailers President and CEO Stuart Sleper said the expansion comes after a strong performance for the company in 2019.
“We had a record year in 2019 across the board, for shipments and also for earnings,” Sleper said. “We entered 2020 with high hopes, then of course coronavirus hit and affected us like many other businesses in the area. It threw us off our plan a little bit, but we did quite well in 2020. We know that we are positioned such that when the economy rebounds and comes back, we will really be in a strong place for 2021, so we thought we would go ahead with our expansion plans.”
Sleper said the addition is expected to increase production capacity by 30 percent.
According to Sleper, the company hopes to begin construction yet this year.
“We have some zoning things to work through with the city and with the state of Iowa,” he said. “The state has really been an excellent advocate and partner for us. They are working on some incentives for us. We plan to get started right after those approvals happen.”
As part of the expansion plans, the Manchester City Council will hold a public hearing Dec. 14 to discuss a potential 10-year, 80% tax rebate agreement.
“The way it is set up is that XL Specialized Trailers will pay the property taxes and we rebate a portion back,” City Manager Tim Vick explained. “So if their valuation isn’t there, they may not get the full tax benefit. If their valuation meets the track they are projecting, they will get the entire tax benefit.”
Vick said the city is looking at an estimated increase in taxable valuation of $2.2 million, with a rebate not to exceed $570,500 over the 10-year period.
Vick said the expansion is good news for the city. “It’s always positive news when we see companies in our communities doing well and expanding and growing.”
For DCED Executive Director Donna Boss, the expansion is good news on several fronts.
“We are extremely blessed. Despite it being 2020 we are seeing growth in our industrial base,” Boss said. “These are wonderful jobs, what the state would consider high-quality jobs with top-notch wages and benefits. Delaware County is open for business.”
Boss stressed the success comes from the work of several entities. “We are very fortunate to have a very forward-thinking Manchester City Council. The incentives they offer are important to make these deals happen. It’s also about relationships, networking and being part of a team along with having confidence in folks assisting and working together. We have the right people on the bus making things happen.”
Sleper said the growth of the company the last couple of years will allow XL Specialized Trailers to take a more active role in the community. “We have been working closely with the Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce and with Donna Boss and Delaware County Economic Development to try to increase our presence as a community sponsor, partner and contributor. Not only are we bringing jobs to the area, but we will be able to do some more things for the community. We are excited about that aspect as well.”