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Officials Praise New SBS Venture Coming to Former Quebecor Site

“I am so bullish on the North Haven economy,” First Selectman Michael Freda said.

Exuberance reigned at the former Quebecor site on State Street Wednesday following the announcement by Gov. Dannell P. Malloy that a newly formed manufacturing company, Sustainable Building Systems (SBS) LLC, will locate at the 17.7 acre site.  

The company is a joint venture between the two global steel companies—the Adelaide, Australia-based Weeks Group and the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Diverse Services Group. 

“This is about jobs,” said the governor, as he stood aside three flags—those of Australia, the United States and Connecticut—to speak. 

The facility in North Haven is expected to be operational within a year, according to Peter Zitis, who will head SBS. 

The new venture expects to create 200 jobs in its first two years and 408 jobs within four years, according to Kevin Weeks, managing director of the Weeks Group. Weeks added that the SBS world design division will operate from the North Haven facility, in addition to the company's manufacturing arm.

Given the occasion, the good will that permeated the cavernous interior of the former Quebecor facility seemed appropriate.

“Despite what’s happening in terms of the national economy, I am so bullish on the North Haven economy,” said , as he lauded what he termed the well-paying manufacturing jobs that SBS will create.  “We will succeed in North Haven despite what the national economy may be.  I firmly believe that.”

“This is great for the town. This is not about politics,” said Walt Spader, who heads the Democratic Town Committee and also serves on North Haven’s Economic Development Commission.  “This is a win for everybody.”

and added their voices to the din, with Yaccarino terming “an exciting opportunity” and Fasano focusing his comments on the company itself.  

“It’s energy-efficient,” he said of the panels the company will produce.  “It’s going to change the way buildings are constructed.”

Like the other elected and business officials, Weeks, who resides in Australia, pointed to the multiplier effect of the new SBS company.  He alone, however, pointed out that SBS plans to subcontract—and that it will use firms in the Northeastern region to do so.

Joseph Coci III, who serves as managing director of Connecticut properties for the New Jersey-based Mountain Development Corp., conceded that there were some “anxious” moments as negotiations with the Weeks Group and DSG proceeded.  According to Catherine Smith, the commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), DSG first approached the state in March.

Connecticut and Rhode Island were the two states on the new venture’s shortlist.

The $97 million project will proceed under the state’s First Five program.  Through it, the DECD will provide a 10-year loan of $19.1 million at two percent interest to the venture in three installments as job targets are met. Funding will go toward the purchase of machinery and equipment, according to information provided by the Governor's office. 

The First Five program offers incentive packages to businesses that create jobs in the state.  Should SBS succeed in creating and maintaining at least 200 jobs within two years, $10 million of the loan will be forgiven, according to DECD spokesman Jim Watson.

The site where SBS will locate is the former home of Quebecor Northeast Graphics USA.  During its years in North Haven, the company perennially held a place near the top of the town’s grand list.  

Quebecor's North Haven facility closed in 2008, taking more than 300 jobs with it.  The site, although well-maintained, has remained vacant since that time. 

First Selectman Michael Freda, who noted that the SBS organization will produce a net gain in jobs at the site, said he had learned only yesterday that the company's move to North Haven was official.  

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