SAN LUIS, Ariz. – A textiles company plans to open a fiber-producing plant expected to create nearly 30 jobs here.
Piana Group, a family-owned firm with roots dating back to 16th century Italy, will move into a vacant industrial building on the city's north side once occupied by Meadowcraft, a manufacturer of outdoor patio furniture, San Luis officials said.
In what city officials say will be an initial investment of nearly $4 million in the local economy, Piana is expected to begin producing fibers for insulation materials as soon as February.
San Luis Mayor Gerardo Sanchez and Community Development Director Jenny Torres said landing the new industry represents a significant step in efforts to diversify a local economy heavily dependent on agricultural and trade between the city's businesses and shoppers from Mexico.
"This is something that is very positive," Sanchez said. "It shows we have been working hard to bring businesses and jobs to the community. For many years the Meadowcraft building has been empty, but thanks to the economic development effort and help from the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, we have been able to attract the Piana Group company."
The new operation will take up nearly one-quarter of the 600,000-square-foot building located along Highway 95 on the city's north end.
The building was constructed about 15 years ago by Meadowcraft but has been vacant throughout much of its history. Its most recent tenant was Paranetics Technology, a parachute manufacturer that departed nearly eight years ago.
Torres said the Plana Group expects to finish renovations to the building and bring in equipment by the end of December, permitting operations to start in February.
She said San Luis beat out the Phoenix area in efforts to land the new industry. The Piana Group learned of the vacant building in San Luis after inquiring with the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation about potential industrial sites in Yuma County.
Torres said the Piana Group already operates a plant in Georgia and had been seeking site for another plant near the West Coast.