There’s little chance that 500 or so Timken Co. employees will lose their bearings when they make a move to new offices late next year.


Timken on Tuesday announced that in April, it will start construction of a $42 million office building next to its global research center in Jackson Township near the Akron-Canton Airport.


The two-story, 160,000-square-foot building — just a bit smaller than a typical Walmart Supercenter — will be the headquarters for Timken’s Bearings and Power Transmission employees.


And it will be just a relatively short drive north on Interstate 77 from downtown Canton, where the employees have been working for more than 20 years in leased office space. Timken’s global headquarters will remain in Canton, a company spokesman said.


The new building is expected to be finished by the end of 2013 and will be connected to the research center, the specialty steel and bearings manufacturer said. The new building will be designed to complement the existing research facility. The combined complex will have nearly 1,000 Timken employees.


Stark County officials praised the formal announcement. More than 4,000 of Timken’s 21,000 global employees are in Stark County.


“Obviously, it is very, very good news,” said Thomas Bernabei, president of the Stark County Board of Commissioners. “What’s good for Timken is good for Stark County.”


The research center location offers easy access to the airport as well as being visible right off the interstate, said Steven Meeks, president of the Jackson-Belden Chamber of Commerce.


“Timken can go anywhere. They chose to stay here. It’s a very positive economic boost,” Meeks said. “We’re all thankful to the Timken Co. for its ongoing support.”


Jackson Township Fiscal Officer Randy Gonzalez said the local school district will get about a $500,000 annual boost in property tax income from the move.


The township itself will get about $110,000 a year more for police and fire protection, he said. “For us, we’ll pick up a little bit.”


Canton Mayor William Healy did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment.


Timken executives last September told the Repository newspaper in Canton that the company was exploring putting up a new office building next to its research center near the airport. The downtown Canton lease expires in April 2014, according to Timken.


While Timken did not say how it will finance the office building, it does have money to spend.


The company recently reported that it earned $454.3 million on record revenue of $5.2 billion in 2011. Executives say they expect sales to grow 5 to 8 percent this year.


Better collaboration


The new office building will help Timken employees and research staff to more easily collaborate, said James Griffith, president and chief executive officer.


“The company has changed dramatically in the last decade, growing into new areas of mechanical power transmission and increasing the need for Timken people to work closely together to deliver exceptional value to stakeholders,” Griffith said in a statement. “More effective collaboration between our business and technology teams will speed the pace of innovation in the company. Improved physical space with closer proximity of work teams is key to that collaboration.”


More investments


Timken has other major capital spending projects either ongoing or soon to start.


It will invest about $225 million over two years to upgrade and expand its Faircrest steel mill in Stark County following worker ratification of a new contract earlier this month by the 2,300-member United Steelworkers 1123 Golden Lodge.


Timken also is spending another $35 million to put in a high-volume in-line forge press at Faircrest and $50 million for improvements at its Harrison and Gambrinus steel plants.


There is room to grow at the Jackson Township research center site.


The research center and new building sit on just part of a 95-acre parcel of land owned by Timken.


“All of the property is buildable,” Timken spokesman Dan Minnich said.


Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com.