Sheetmetal manufacturer expected to boost Pflugerville economy

A California-based sheet metal manufacturer with a facility in Round Rock is building a new facility in Pflugerville, bringing with it at least 200 jobs and $20 million in future tax revenue to the city’s coffers, according to one study.

Cortec Precision Sheetmetal Inc. is building a 120,000-square-foot facility at 130 Commerce Center, a 167-acre business park at East Pecan Street and Texas 130. Cortec plans to occupy half of the building, with the other half available for lease.

The Pflugerville Community Development Corporation helped attract Cortec to the city through a 50 percent property tax rebate lasting four years, which amounts to about $228,000. The PCDC, a quasi-governmental agency that works to bring business to Pflugerville, sold the property to Cortec for $1.4 million. The property cost the development corporation about $600,000.

PCDC Executive Director Amy Madison said the property worked well with Cortec’s regional expansion plans. The company has hired about 35 employees in just the past couple years, she said.

“Cortec was very, very easy to work with,” Madison said. “They needed to grow and expand, so we worked to keep them in the region.”

Cortec President Richard Corrales, who has lived in Pflugerville since 2007, said the friendly business environment and the 130 Commerce Center led to the company’s decision to move.

“I felt that a lot of business would be coming to Pflugerville … and it doesn’t hurt being next to them,” he said.

The move will help boost tax rolls for the 130 Commerce Center from $90 million this year to $145 million by next year, Madison said. The building is slated for completion sometime this fall, according to the PCDC.

Madison said another benefit of the deal is making 60,000 square feet of space available for lease.

“It’s an added bonus,” she said. “I don’t think it will stay empty for very long.”

Cortec, founded in 1975 in San Jose, Calif., is a family owned and operated business. One of its main products is machinery that makes microchips for some of the biggest corporations in the tech industry. Its current facility in Round Rock is on A.W. Grimes Boulevard.

Cortec invested $20 million in the 8-acre tract at 130 Commerce Center. According to a 2014 study funded by the PCDC, Cortec’s move will generate 200 permanent direct and indirect jobs in the next 15 years. The result will be an estimated $19 million in taxable sales and purchases within the city and $20 million in additional city tax revenue.

The Pflugerville City Council originally approved the incentives agreement and property purchase with Cortec in March 2014. Following that approval, Corrales and three Cortec employees were arrested in September 2014 after a grand jury indicted them on charges of illegally employing immigrants.

In December last year, Corrales and three Cortec employees pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful employment of aliens, Daryl Fields of the U.S. attorney general’s office said.

Investigators with the Department of Homeland Security said the business had employed at least 16 immigrants illegally since September 2013.

Corrales and the three employees pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful employment of aliens, Fields said. In December last year, a magistrate judge fined Cortec $48,000 and fined Corrales $48,000. The three Cortec employees were sentenced to time served with no fine.

Corrales said a disgruntled employee led to the charges, which he called false. The company now uses E-Verify for all of its employees, he said, assuring no illegal immigrants are hired.

“This is behind us and we need to move forward,” he said.

Madison said the indictments had no effect on the incentives agreement with Cortec, since language in the agreement only stipulated company performance.

“It’s a separate issue entirely,” she said. “They dealt with their fine and all of the associated issues that came out of that. But we’re still very excited about having Cortec in our community.”


Mike Parker, Austin Community Newspapers Staff, Austin Statesman, 4/22/16, statesman.com