CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY)- A company with roots in the Chesapeake community for more than 50 years broke ground on an expansion project that will add dozens of jobs in the community.
On Wednesday, Plasser American held a groundbreaking at its site off Atlantic Avenue in the South Norfolk community.
“We’ve been planning for this day for two years. Now we can see it’s finally coming true,” said Plasser American President and CEO Thomas Blechinger.
The Austrian company expanded to the United States in 1960 and opened a facility in 1970 in Chesapeake, only seven years after the independent city was created.
Chesapeake Mayor Rick West, who attended the event Wednesday, said the two have seen each other grow and the type of company was exactly what Chesapeake was hoping to attract.
“We will continue to work closely with this company to see that they grow and get what they need to do to be successful, ” he said. “It only improves the quality of life for our citizens.”
The company builds machines that maintain and repair railways.
The project will include three phases. The first phase will include the design and construction of a 45.000-square-foot, three-floor office building. That is expected to be completed by December.
Phase two will include the addition of a manufacturing and warehouse facility.
Phase three will convert their existing warehouse space into more manufacturing space as well as make major paint shop improvements and campus upgrades to provide a state-of-the-art manufacturing company.
Officials said overall, the finished project will increase their manufacturing footprint by 35 percent.
Plasser American will add 100 new jobs. West said the average salary will be around $65,000.
“They’ll go shopping, reside in Chesaspeake more than likely, help our city grow and be prosperous. That’s the good news,” he said about those who will be hired.
West said it’s good news to hear about a company expanding during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now you’re hearing more about people struggling. When you hear about victories like this, it’s good news,” he said.
Plessar American will also hire local companies to complete construction.
Blechinger said that the addition of the new jobs will allow them to gain local talent.
While the company has been around in the United States for 60 years, he’s already looking forward to another 60 and credited urbanization around the country, as well as the push toward high-speed rail.
“This equipment will serve the U.S. railroads in building and developing high-speed railroad structures,” he said.