Apogee is temporarily closing a glass fabricating plant in Utah for two years as the building market continues to stagnate and demand for architectural glass slows.
The closure in mid-April will affect about 222 employees who work at the facility in St. George, Utah. The plant is operated by an Apogee subsidiary, Viracon, which is based in Owatonna, Minn.
The Utah plant is the smallest of Viracon’s three U.S. manufacturing locations, which produce single-source architectural glass.
“This was a very difficult but necessary decision that we had hoped to avoid,” said Viracon President Kelly Schuller in a statement. “Our St. George workforce has done a great job, but the prolonged construction downturn required us to act to improve our operating efficiencies and maintain our competitive position.”
Viracon plans to hold onto the 210,000 square foot plant and upgrade its coating capabilities as it waits for the market to improve, the company said. The work will be diverted to its other plants in Owatonna and Statesboro, Ga.
Bloomington-based Apogee has said it plans to spend $30 million to upgrade one of those two plants, but has made it clear it expects support from the state and communities. Owatonna has offered nearly $5 million in tax incentives, even though the project wouldn’t add new jobs.