CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Smith Fastener Co. Inc. has broken ground for a new building in South Charleston, Mayor Frank Mullens said.
The company plans to move its 41 employees and its nuts-and-bolts distribution center from the eastern edge of Kanawha City to a lot near the former FMC hydrogen peroxide plant and the fly ash pond, said Jim Smith, the company's president.
Mullens announced that Smith Fastener had broken ground during the monthly meeting of the South Charleston Economic Development Committee at Little Creek Country Club.
Smith talked about the company's plans in a phone interview following the meeting.
"I can confirm what the mayor said -- site preparation is under way," he said. "We're still in the design stage for a building and hope to have that completed in the next four or five weeks. We'll proceed from there."
Smith Fastener has been at 7500 MacCorkle Ave. S.E. in Kanawha City since 1971.
"We need more space," Smith said. "We've outgrown the building and we're landlocked."
Paul Tennant of Associated Architects Inc., Charleston, is project architect, Smith said. Terradon Corp. of Poca is in charge of the site preparation.
Mullens told the committee last month that Smith Fasteners had submitted site plans and the city had approved them. Mullens said then, "That's a strong small business. We're lucky to get them in South Charleston."
During Tuesday's meeting, Mullens also noted that Target is in the process of remodeling its store in the Shops at Trace Fork and that he is continuing to discuss the extension of South Charleston's sewer service from the Holiday Inn Express, which is between The Shops at Trace Fork and Dudley Farms Plaza, south to Lincoln County.
Corridor G south of the big box shops "is the only place for us to grow," Mullens said. "It's absolutely essential for us." He said he met with representatives of U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito's office a few weeks ago and has met with representatives of the Regional Intergovernmental Council.
The city is taking baby steps to move the project forward and is looking for funding for what appears to be either a $16 million or $20 million extension of the sewer line, Mullens said.
"It certainly would be a coup for us if we can get that done," he said. "What you now have are little package plants going in (to treat sewage). "They serve a purpose but they are not the long-term fix."
Also during the meeting, Kevin DiGregorio, executive director of the Chemical Alliance Zone, spoke about the importance of the chemical industry to South Charleston and the Kanawha Valley.
"Some people think the chemical industry is gone" but that's not true, he said. The chemical industry still has about 11,000 employees in the state and the average annual wage tops $75,000.