By Frank Esposito, Plastics News
Eastman Chemical Co., which makes speciality chemicals including those for polyurethanes, is embarking on a seven-year, $1.6 billion expansion of its headquarters site in Kingsport, Tennessee.
The expansion - known as Project Inspire - will create 300 new jobs and will include a new office building as well as increased warehouse capacity, technology expansions and improvements to the site's infrastructure, energy efficiency and safety and environmental performance, officials said. The project is expected to be completed in 2020 - the 100th anniversary of Eastman's presence in Kingsport.
"This represents a landmark capital investment that will modernize and expand our largest manufacturing site and corporate campus here in Kingsport," CEO Jim Rogers said in a 29 May news release. "I can think of no better way to honour our long-term commitment to this site and surrounding community than through this very significant investment in our future."
Eastman employs 7,000 - just over half of its global total - in Kingsport and ranks as one of the state's largest employers.
In a June 12 phone interview, Eastman spokeswoman Tracy Kilgore said that the firm "will be able to maximize its tax credits" for the project.
Kilgore added that Eastman's Tritan-brand copolyester business also will benefit from the expansion, but no details were available. Administration and production for Tritan both are based in Kingsport.
The new expansion was announced not long after Eastman completed Project Reinvest, a $1.3 billion site improvement project that it launched in Kingsport in 2007.
Eastman has annual sales of about $9 billion, including its recent purchase of speciality chemicals maker Solutia.