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Manufacturer plans expansion to Queen City

SPX Cooling Tech aims to open by April 2024

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A century-old Kansas company has targeted Springfield as the site of a manufacturing plant to begin operations by spring 2024.

SPX Cooling Tech LLC, based in Overland Park, is expected to occupy a roughly 100,000-square-foot existing facility in Partnership Industrial Center West in approximately six months, said Paul Clegg, vice president of investor relations and communications for parent company SPX Technologies Inc. (NYSE: SPXC).

Plans for SPX Cooling Tech, which is a global manufacturer of cooling towers, evaporative fluid coolers, evaporative condensers, industrial evaporators and air-cooled heat exchangers, call for the creation of 60 jobs at the Springfield plant.

“We plan to scale up to approximately 60 over the course of 2024 and early 2025,” Clegg said via email, adding current SPX Cooling Tech employee Jason Spidle will be the Springfield plant manager. “We have already initiated recruiting for certain positions and are targeting early December for a broader recruiting effort.”

The PIC West building at 2030 N. Alliance Ave. was most recently occupied by NewStream Enterprises, a division of SRC Holdings Corp., which moved to larger space at 2065 E. Pythian St., said Rich Kramer, co-owner of Rich Kramer Construction Inc. Kramer said his company has done some expansion work at the building over the past couple months for SPX, including the addition of a large overhead door. Officials declined to disclose estimated startup costs.

“We’re waiting on permit approvals to do the parking lot,” Kramer said of SPX’s desire to add 24 parking spaces.

SPX Cooling Tech, which started in 1922, is known for lines of cooling products, heat exchangers and aftermarket parts under three main brands: Marley, Recold and SGS Refrigeration, according to company officials. Its cooling systems and components, coupled with technical services, have supported applications in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, refrigeration and industrial process cooling. 

Charlotte, North Carolina-based SPX Technologies, a product and tech supplier in the HVAC and detection and measurement markets, employs roughly 3,300 people in 15 countries, according to its website. Clegg said the company’s revenue is expected to exceed $1.7 billion in 2023, up from nearly $1.5 billion in 2022.

Springfield attraction
The Springfield plant is part of SPX Cooling Tech’s plans to expand the capacity of its products made in the United States.

“The site will support the increased investment in data centers, semiconductor fabrication facilities and battery and EV infrastructure throughout North America,” said Sean McClenaghan, president of global cooling for SPX Cooling Tech, in a news release. “It will also expand our manufacturing capacity while allowing current operations to further optimize our legacy products.”

Clegg said the search to expand its operations to the Queen City was relatively quick.

“Our initial search was started in mid-2023 and included numerous communities within around 200 miles of our cooling platform’s office and existing operations in the greater Kansas City area,” Clegg said. “We searched for available buildings with the correct size and access to a high-quality workforce.”

He said support from the state of Missouri was also an important factor. The company is set to receive benefits from the Missouri Works program, which awards withholdings or tax credits in exchange for job creation. Clegg declined to disclose details of the economic incentives.

“When we surveyed the local area, we were very impressed with the positive feedback on the area and quality of the people that we would be targeting as employees,” he said. “We’re very excited about getting to know Springfield better and growing within the community over the coming years.”

Space constraints
Kramer said he was aware SPX desired existing Springfield manufacturing buildings rather than new construction, as they wanted it to be operational by early 2024.

With the company’s expected arrival next year filling a building at PIC West, eight properties totaling 110 acres remain available in the 400-acre industrial center, said Tiffany Batdorf, vice president of communications and community relations with the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. That acreage includes a 51-acre state-certified site.

It’s the second new project announcement in as many months at PIC West. Sho-Me Fabrication LLC broke ground in September on a $5 million, 20,000-square-foot facility, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. The Springfield steel fabricator is expected to move into the building by next summer. Rich Kramer Construction is general contractor for the project, designed by Verona-based R.E. Werner Architect LLC.

While Kramer characterized the industrial and manufacturing construction landscape in Springfield as “still strong,” he said for those companies looking to launch or relocate operations in six-figure square footage buildings, there are few options beyond new construction.

“In Springfield, it’s getting tougher,” he said about available land on which to build. “Infrastructure is so expensive.”

As for future development in PIC West, Batdorf said the projects of SPX Cooling Tech and Sho-Me Fabrication indicate a strong potential for continued growth in the industrial center. However, she declined to identify any future development details at the site.

“At any given time at least one property is being discussed for potential development or under review for a business expansion,” she said via email.

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