UPDATED: Food-container firm planning $18 million, 290,000-square-foot expansion on Engle Road

Sabert Corp. is planning a 290,000-square-foot expansion of the former Mullinix plant on Engle Road. (News-Sentinel.com file photo by Kevin Leininger)
Sabert's "Advanced Technology Center" is under construction on Ardmore Avenue near the airport. (Courtesy image)

Confirming plans The News-Sentinel first reported in February, a New Jersey manufacturer of food containers is planning a massive expansion of its plant at 3511 Engle Road.

Sabert Corp. has filed an application with the Allen County Department of Planning Services to add nearly 290,000 feet to the former Mullinix Packages Inc. plant. Sabert bought Mullinix in 2016 and is also building 175,000-square-foot Advanced Technology Center on Ardmore Avenue near Fort Wayne International Airport.

The company’s application, to be considered next month by the Fort Wayne Plan Commission, did not say how many jobs, if any, will be created by the expansion. But when Sabert asked City Council to vacate an undeveloped portion of the Engle Road site just to the south of the existing facility, the company stated the expansion “will enable Sabert to add machinery and employees, thereby enhancing Fort Wayne’s tax base and providing additional jobs.”

Sabert Director of Construction Robert Karabinchak said the new addition will serve primarily as a warehouse ad could result in up to 40 new jobs. The project’s cost is expected to be about $15 million to $18 million, and Karabinchak said construction could start by the end of the year if all necessary approvals, including wetland issues, are resolved.

Sabert currently employs about 400 people in Fort Wayne.

The technology center, meanwhile, will centralize the company’s North American engineering and tooling operations and employ about 50 people in the development of new products, testing, engineering and training. Documents filed with the Department of Planning place cost of the project at nearly $10 million, but Sabert invested about $26.5 million in Fort Wayne last year, according to Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Karabinchak said two additional expansions are planned at the Ardmore facility, the first containing up to 200,000 square feet.

With annual sales of more than $500 million, Sabert operates facilities in New Jersey, California, Kentucky and overseas.

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