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Kingston company eyes Watertown, plans to add 15 jobs

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A Kingston, Ontario, manufacturing company wants to solidify its U.S. market by possibly building and leasing a 10,000-square-foot building in the City Center Industrial Park off Bellew Avenue.

At a Watertown Local Development Corp. meeting Thursday morning, CEO Donald W. Rutherford said he received a phone call Wednesday from a representative of the unidentified company interested in establishing more of a presence in the United States and wanting to set up shop close to its Canadian headquarters.

The venture would create about 15 “good-paying manufacturing jobs,” Mr. Rutherford said, adding the company “does a lot of business in the United States.”

“I’m not going to say who it is and what they do,” Mr. Rutherford said, noting the project “is in the preliminary stages.”

After the meeting, Kenneth A. Mix, the city’s planning and community development coordinator, said he received the initial call about the prospect and forwarded the company representative to Mr. Rutherford.

“That’s all I know,” he said.

Mr. Rutherford told the board of the Watertown Local Development Corp., also known as the Watertown Trust, that he figured that a build-to-lease arrangement with an option to buy would be the best way to proceed with the project.

Having a good working relationship with a local sheet metal fabricator would be a key for the project to move forward, Mr. Rutherford said.

Knoxville, Tenn., Indianapolis and Cleveland also are vying for the venture, he said.

The company hopes to receive advice from the Watertown Trust on how to go about setting up operations in the states, he said, noting the corporation may want to enlist the help of a local attorney and accountant.

While he was glad to get the new prospect for the industrial park, Mr. Rutherford told the board, another company has dropped its plans to build a 50,000-square-foot building there.

He met with that unidentified company Tuesday morning about the engineering and design of the project and then heard later in the day “they couldn’t justify the costs,” Mr. Rutherford said.

Instead, the company plans to look at two existing sites in the city for the project, he said.

“That’s the good news,” he said.

The company would initially employ 20 workers. News of the prospect first came up at the Trust’s June meeting.

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