Today, Simon Halliday, general manager and owner, announced his company, Ace Building Systems, which manufactures floor, wall and roof panels used in the construction of residential, multifamily and light commercial buildings, will fill the industrial site at 821 W. Wakefield. The building previously housed Heritage Homes.
Halliday, who is from Sydney, Australia, said Ace Building Systems searched nationwide before deciding to locate its first American manufacturing plant in Sikeston.
"The building is unique. We looked nationwide and found only two that would fill our needs," said Halliday. He also cited the location of the community, noting it was very accessible to the company's market, which will be primarily the Midwest and East Coast.
In moving to Sikeston, Ace Building Systems is making a $1.4 million investment in the community, bringing in equipment and locating at least a dozen of its officials. On Monday, Halliday said, workmen will begin moving machinery into the 110,000-square foot building.
At the Wakefield site, the company will custom build wall panels. By doing it in a plant, the general manager explained the machinery can efficiently and precisely cut and assemble the panels, which are then taken to the site to be erected into a house. The company will provide an on-site construction crew or if the builder has a crew, they will be trained in the process.
"Basically in 60 days, the builder can give the homeowner the keys to their custom home," said Halliday.
The efficiency in the construction allows Ace Building Systems to reduce waste, thus reducing costs, he stated. Also, he said, the manufacturing process can ensure quality.
The factory workers are expected to earn about $12 an hour plus benefits.
"We pay at the high-end range because we have to train our staff and we want to retain them," said Halliday. In addition the company offers a program to encourage employee home ownership and is currently working with Regions Bank to provide financing for the homes which will be built through the company.
While the Sikeston plant is the first for Ace Building Systems, Halliday predicted another two may open in the next 12 months.
"Sikeston will be a pilot plant. It will be the most up-to-date, efficient plant in the world. It will have the best equipment and we will provide the best training we can. We want this to be a model plant," said Halliday.
The company expects to produce 200 to 250 homes annually.
City Manager Doug Friend said the city is pleased to welcome Ace Building Systems. "We are thrilled with any new industry but particularly we are looking at one similar to what Sikeston lost. It gets a building off the market and brings in good paying jobs. We look forward to a good partnership."
Economic Development Director Ed Dust said the effort to bring Ace Building Systems to Sikeston began in late January. Because the company didn't want to purchase the building, Dust worked with Sue and Ivan Griffin of Puxico, who purchased the building and in turn leased it to Ace Building Systems.
The state of Missouri is providing a low-interest loan to the company.
"We don't get a lot of opportunities to recruit a foreign company and for it to work like it did it was a real treat," said Dust.
Those interested in applying for employment with Ace Building Systems should contact the Workforce Development Division's Missouri Career Center at 202 S. Kingshighway.