Originally Published The News-Enterprise | December 22, 2022


Banner year of growth at industrial park could just be the start

Construction equipment sits at the Kentucky Whiskey House site in the T.J. Patterson Industrial Park in Elizabethtown. Phillips Brothers Construction, a Hardin County company, is working on the site. Kentucky Whiskey House has made a $71.9 million investment in the property.

  • PHOTOS BY GINA CLEAR/The News-Enterprise

Banner year of growth at industrial park could just be the start

In nine months, Kruger Packaging stood up its $114.2 million, 400,000-square-foot facility off North Black Branch Road in Elizabethtown.

Flex Films USA is constructing a 100,000-square-foot facility to the left of its main facility in the T.J. Patterson Industrial Park in Elizabethtown. It is an investment of $7.4 million

Fischbach USA recently completed a multimillion-dollar 70,000-square-foot facility in Elizabethtown.

Employees with Phillips Brothers Construction work on the Kentucky Whiskey House site off U.S. 62 in Elizabethtown. The facility will produce up to 175,000 barrels a year.

It’s been a big year for the manufacturing sector in Elizabethtown.

So big, that the city’s industrial park is quickly running out of room.

“So it’s no secret that we’re seeing unprecedented growth around here and a lot of that is following the announcement of BlueOval SK in Glendale,” Elizabethtown Mayor Jeff Gregory said. “Being that we’re the largest city around that industrial site, we’re going to have to make sure we’re squared away and providing infrastructure.”

In the past year alone, more than $140 million has been invested by companies in the T.J. Patterson Industrial Park, according to a presentation given by Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation Vice President Andy Games to Elizabethtown City Council.

Leading the way on those investments was Kruger Packaging with a $114.2 million investment in a new, state-of-the art 400,000-square-foot facility.

“What a breath of fresh air they are and are going to be a wonderful partner for the city,” Games said. “They were up and running in nine months from the day of breaking ground.”

Part of that partnership has come in the way of a recent announcement where the company’s real estate arm has purchased blighted city-owned property to build housing for its workforce. The 120- to 125-unit apartment complex at 125 College Street will house Kruger employees first and other workers second.

“We’re thrilled to have Kruger come in,” Gregory said. “They’ve been an outstanding community partner right off the bat.”

Also contributing to the current year’s investment are Fischback USA, with a multi-million dollar 70,000-square-foot expansion; Flex Films USA with a $7.4 million 400,000 square-foot expansion; and WL Plastics with a $17 million 60,000-square-foot expansion.

“Those are the very best, in my opinion,” Gregory said of recent expansion projects, “because those are established companies that are thriving and are doing well in our industrial park.”

Next year also is beginning to shape up into another banner year for the city, Games said. In recent months, $360.2 million of new investment will be made in the park.

Two of those investments can be directly tied to the BlueOval SK Battery Park, which alone was a $5.8 billion investment, the largest in Kentucky history.

Lotte Aluminum Materials USA, a South Korean firm, is going to build a $238.7 million facility, which will produce 36,000 tons of cathode ultra-thin aluminum foil for electric vehicle batteries.

Advanced Nano Products USA Inc., another South Korean firm, will construct a new 50,000 facility costing $49.6 million. The company is expected to supply EV battery facilities throughout the region by manufacturing a slurry for inside the battery, Games said.

“They are probably six months behind (Lotte), if I had to say,” he said. “But they’re both on extreme timelines.”

The addition of the two South Korean companies — SK Innovations of the BlueOval SK join venture also is a South Korean company — helps create a strong local economy, Gregory said.

“It just keeps diversifying what we have in the industrial park,” he said. “What I’m proud of is we have 14 different countries represented out there. I think that’s wonderful for our community.”

Another major investment in the park comes from Kentucky Whiskey House, which is expected to produce about 175,000 barrels a year, Games said. The company is investing $71.9 million.

“Most of the groundbreaking you’re seeing going on down there right now is KWH,” he said. “They are flying, just to be honest. If you go down (U.S.) 62, that’s what you’re looking at there.”

Games said from pictures, the company has prepared six to eight rick house dirt pads thus far in the early days of construction.

Huck’s Market also has announced a 6,5000-square-foot, 16 pump filling station.

Gregory said these investments could just be the start, thanks to BlueOval SK.

“What started out as 5,000 jobs in Glendale could easy grow to 15 to 20,000 jobs in the next six, seven or eight years,” he said.

And while the city is excited at the prospect, Gregory said maintaining jobs already here is equally important.

“We want to make sure we’re working really hard so they all feel welcome,” he said. “We’re going to take care of what we have existing and continue to recruit quality companies to come in here to compliment what we already have.”

Gina Clear can be reached at 270-505-1418 or gclear@thenewsenterprise.com.