Infra-Metals awards construction contract

January 24, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

Infra-Metals steel service center has awarded a general contract to J&H Erectors of Portsmouth to construct a $13 million facility in New Boston.

The New Boston steel plant has been about five years in the making and nearly didn’t happen at all. The deal was almost lost entirely after a bad first impression initially knocked New Boston out of the running for Infra-Metals locations. Infra-Metals Project Manager Michael Dean said it was former Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) Chairman Bob Walton, Sr., and local developer Don Hadsell (of J&H Erectors) who convinced the company to give the village another look.

To further entice the company, they were granted property tax abatements by the state of Ohio and the village of New Boston. The company also received $100,000 from American Electric Power to the help relocate a major transition line.

Still, before the company would agree to purchase the land — a former diesel repair site located behind Tractor Supply in New Boston — SOPA was tasked with remediating the property of all contaminates left behind. After clean-up was complete, the Environmental Protection Agency approved the land and Infra-Metals signed a purchase agreement with SOPA in December.

“There were several things that went into this decision, but one of the things that helped us was the logistics of that area; the location on the river, the distance to what we feel would be a good extended customer base to us. But in addition to that, we’ve really been welcomed by the folks down there,” Dean said.

Infra-Metals has now awarded the general contract to J&H Erectors of Portsmouth for an undisclosed amount. Dean said work has already begun on the 200,000-square-foot building, and construction will last about nine months. Don Hadsell, of J&H Erectors, could not be reached for comment.

The company hopes to begin operations in September with about 25 employees, with plans to increase numbers as production picks up. In the meantime, new employees will be sent for training at some of the seven Infra-Metal facilities in the United States.

“We have not officially started the hiring yet. We’re still really premature for that. That’s going to start probably 90 to 120 days from now,” Dean said.

Infra-Metals is owned by the publicly-traded Reliance Steel. Dean said the company is the largest distributor of metals in the United States and all of North America, and the second largest distribution company in the world. Dean will present an informational video about the company’s operations to New Boston Village Council during their next meeting on Feb. 5.

More information about the company is available on its website at www.infra-metals.com.

Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com.