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National Gypsum CEO Plans Announcement In Wilmington On Tuesday

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted May 7, 2018
National Gypsum CEO Thomas Nelson
National Gypsum CEO Thomas Nelson is scheduled to make an announcement at the company's Sunnyvale Drive facility in Wilmington on Tuesday morning, officials with the company said Monday.

The gypsum board manufacturing company has been considering the reopening of its shuttered Wilmington plant, which ceased operations in January 2009. The site, located at 838 Sunnyvale Drive, has been in competition with another closed plant in Tampa, Florida, which shut down in June 2008.

As a result of the scheduled announcement, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said Monday, "I'm pretty confident in saying that I think that Wilmington is the place that they've chosen to make the investment as opposed to Tampa."

Officials with National Gypsum, which supplies gypsum board, interior finishing products and cement board to the construction industry, said the Wilmington location is strategic for the firm because of the need to add production in the southeastern U.S.

National Gypsum has a network of over 40 facilities in North America, according to officials with the company.

Wilmington and New Hanover County officials have designated economic development incentives for the company should it reopen its location here, which National Gypsum has said will bring 51 jobs with an average salary of $57,000 and $25 million in capital improvements.

The city of Wilmington approved up to $230,000 over five years while New Hanover County approved $350,000 over five years for a total package of $580,000.

Prior to the approval for the economic incentives by both the city and the county, some community members raised concerns over the potential for formaldehyde emissions the company would produce at the site if it opened in Wilmington. 

The company has an existing air permit for National Gypsum's Wilmington site, which was renewed by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality in 2016 and expires in 2024. National Gypsum officials traveled to Wilmington on several occasions this year to offer insight into its production process to try to ease community concerns.

"It's going to be good for the economy and the other part about it, because we just had this pretty significant debate about the environment, they are going to upgrade the plant and they're going to use natural gas as opposed to diesel," Saffo said. "They're going to make it a much cleaner plant, a much more efficient plant, and it's going to be good for the community."
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