While Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises is preparing to leave Barberton next year for next-door neighbor Akron, its once-connected affiliate now named BWX Technologies is exploring a more than $80 million job-creating project in the Magic City.
BWX Technologies, which builds nuclear reactor parts and has about 650 employees in Barberton, is looking into an $82 million expansion that would add 88 new jobs with an average annual salary of $75,000, according to city officials.
BWX, which is based in Lynchburg, Va., has acknowledged the Barberton plan but said at this point in the process it had little to add. The company also is looking at expanding its Euclid facility, where about 300 people work.
“BWX Technologies is in the process of performing due diligence in evaluating potential investments and expansions for our Ohio facilities,” company spokesman Chris Dumand said. “We’re grateful for the consideration given by the cities of Euclid and Barberton and by the state of Ohio.”
Should BWX Technologies go forward with its Barberton expansion, that will help take some of the upcoming sting out of Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises' sale of its Barberton campus and then moving hundreds of jobs from there to the East End Offices, the former Goodyear headquarters in Akron. The former B&W Barberton campus then will be repurposed.
BWX Technologies and Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises were part of the same corporation, Babcock & Wilcox Co., up until 2015. Then they split, creating two publicly traded corporations with new names.
BWX Technologies specializes in nuclear power while B&W focuses primarily on fossil fuel power plants, particularly coal-fueled facilities.
The BWX Technologies plant in Barberton makes heavy components for naval nuclear reactors used in submarines and aircraft carriers. The Euclid site makes electro-mechanical components such as control ride drive mechanisms used in naval reactors.
Barberton Mayor William Judge on Monday said all of the various city entities have OK'd measures that will allow the potential BWX Technologies expansion to proceed.
"Everything on our side has been approved," Judge said.
The same day as the Babcock & Wilcox announcement, Barberton City Council approved an ordinance authorizing the mayor to submit a tax incentive application to the state on behalf of BWX Technologies for a 12-year, 75 percent tax abatement.
The next step is in the hands of state government, Judge said, adding he hopes to hear back soon from Columbus officials.
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority placed the Barberton and Euclid expansions on its agenda in late September but no action was taken. The authority’s next meeting is Oct. 29; an authority spokesman said BWX Technologies could be placed on that meeting’s agenda, which will be set Oct. 26.
Jim Mackinnon covers business and county government. He can be reached at 330-996-3544 or email@example.com. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ