CHEYENNE – Magpul Industries, an ammunition-magazine and gun-accessory manufacturer, is backing away from a $13.9 million plan to construct a custom facility in favor of purchasing an extant building in Cheyenne.
Magpul in February vicariously through Laramie County scored a $13 million large infrastructure grant and loan combination from the Wyoming Business Council as part of a recruitment package. Now, the company is asking officials to back that down to an $8.3 million grant to instead purchase the 135,000-square-foot former manufacturing facility of Jeld-Wen, a door and window manufacturer that pulled out in 2011.
The original plan had been to purchase a temporary 67,000-square-foot space while building the 108,000-square-foot permanent facility by 2016. But with the Jeld-Wen building coming available as a developer adds 50,000 square feet to the facility, the opportunity was right for Magpul. The $9.5 million building will be purchased by Laramie County and leased to Cheyenne LEADS, which will sublease the 185,000-square-foot facility to both Magpul and outdoor gear discounter Sierra Trading Post.
According to Business Council documentation, Sierra Trading Post will lease 100,000 square feet for the first year and a half at $3.75 per foot. After that Sierra Trading Post will cede the entirety of the facility to Magpul, which will only occupy 85,000 square feet until then. For the first five years, Magpul won’t have lease payments.
However, for the remaining 10 years on the contract, Magpul will ramp payments from $3 per square foot to $4.50 per square foot. Lease collections over that period will be $7.1 million on the $9.3 million building. Of those payments, about $3.7 million will be recaptured by the Wyoming Business Council, or less than half of what it put in. The remainder, documentation says, will go toward land acquisition, infrastructure, landscaping, etc. for future economic-development projects.
The state anticipates other benefits to make up for the rest, with tax benefits of more than $5.5 million over 15 years. Altogether, the state claims returns on the $9.5 million investment will be more than $14.3 million.
For Magpul, not having to wait for a new facility keeps the company from having to move twice and will allow them to move in by November and expand operations faster. The former Jeld-Wen facility, documentation states, meets both Magpul’s current and future needs.
Magpul has been based in Colorado, but got up in arms over new state laws in 2013 that restricted some of the company’s products within Colorado and generally conflicted with the constitutional right to bear arms, in the company’s opinion.
Magpul executives decided to move parts of the business to Wyoming and parts to Texas to take a dip in friendlier political waters. Specifically, the company settled on moving its corporate headquarters to Texas and its manufacturing, distribution and shipping operations to Cheyenne in a widely publicized move. At least two other gun accessory manufacturers – HiViz Shooting Systems and Maverick Ammunition, both moving to Laramie – followed suit.
The Business Council will deliberate on the proposed grant change during its August meeting in Powell Thursday.
Wyoming Business Report