BY JEFF BENZIGER
A new manufacturing plant being built on the edge of south Modesto and Ceres’ city limits is expected to have some healthy economic impacts for the regions and its merchants.
Ripon-based Entekra will be opening a 200,000-square-foot plant next to the former Post Foods plant on East Whitmore Avenue at a cost of $35 million to manufacture wood framing for new homes. Once operating in August, the plant and corporate offices will employ about 250 jobs to the line separating Ceres and Modesto.
The company has been operating a 27,000-square-foot plant in Ripon since 2016. The company will move most of its 50-man crew to the new site and hire 200 more workers for manufacturing, engineering, design, marketing and customer service.
Entekra’s new facility is projected to give the Ceres-Modesto area an economic boost of $61.6 million annually, said Opportunity Stanislaus, and result in an additional 200 spin-off jobs. Opportunity Stanislaus is helping Entekra find a skilled workforce for its open positions.
The city of Modesto worked to ensure Entekra’s permits were not delayed and helped find approximately $100,000 in on-the-job training funding through various state and federal incentive programs and partnerships.
“Overall it’s a net positive,” said Ceres City Manager Toby Wells. “Obviously we would prefer to have that facility in Ceres but we don’t have that many spots that could handle 200,000 square feet of industrial space like they got there. But with its proximity to the commercial corridor that Whitmore is and access to downtown I think it’ll be a net positive having a couple hundred jobs that would likely eat lunch in our community.”
He also cited the ability of Ceres residents to find good-paying jobs.
Entekra uses an automated system that speeds up production of framing for new residential dwellings which saves time and money for developers while ensuring accuracy. The traditional method of building homes in subdivisions has five framers assembling pieces on site over a 17-day period. Entekra saves labor by assembling the walls and floors at the plant, shipping them to the construction site and lifting them into place by crane. That process takes three days. The savings realized can be $14,450 per home.
Currently the Ripon plant can turn out material for 500 homes but the new plant will be able to turn out 3,000. Local builders using their product include Beazer, Fitzpatrick and Van Daele Homes. The increased output resulting from the new plant will allow them to manufacture framing for apartments and townhouses between the California-Oregon and Bakersfield.
CEO Gerard McCaughey said those interested in employment should visit the Entekra website, www.entekra.com/careers.