Goodwill plans $14 million expansion of Miami plant
By Susan Stabley
Goodwill Industries of South Florida plans a $14 million expansion of its Miami plant that will add 400 manufacturing and apparel jobs, largely for people with disabilities, CEO Dennis Pastrana said.
The growth would add 40,000 square feet to the 200,000-square-foot plant in the Allapattah neighborhood. Goodwill also will add a three-deck, 177,000-square-foot garage and a 22,000-square-foot superstore.
Construction is set for January.
As part of its growth, Goodwill has purchased Penn Made Products, a Hallandale embroidery business, and Flag Center of Miami. Much of the work done at the Miami plant is with US flags and military clothing.
Buying companies is "a little unusual" for Goodwill, said Dave Barringer, vice president of marketing and communications for Goodwill Industries International in Bethesda, Md. "I hold it up as a real model of working with a community and with people with disabilities."
Miami City Commissioner Angel Gonzales, whose district includes Allapattah, praised the project for its projected creation of jobs. "In addition to that, it will solve a very, very serious problem with parking" for area merchants, he said. He also said more people should visit the area to use the retail store.
Miami commissioners on Tuesday approved a $1.5 million brownfield grant and a loan for up to $3 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for the project. The site qualifies because of contaminants in the parking lot, Commissioner Gonzales said.
A brownfield grant was awarded last year for another Allapattah project, Wagner Square, which will include 198 condominiums and retail space.
Of the 900 employees at Goodwill's Miami plant, 2121 NW 21st St., 95% are people with disabilities, Mr. Pastrana said. Goodwill wages run from $6.50 to $10.50 an hour, he said. Last year's payroll was $7.8 million for those with disabilities.
Goodwill also placed 1,253 workers throughout the community last year. Those people earned $14.4 million.
In addition to making flags for military burials and clothing for soldiers, the Miami plant provides janitorial jobs at 113 buildings and Coast Guard bases. Goodwill also places workers to sort donations and insert preprinted advertisements.
The Miami plant is considered a Goodwill model, Mr. Barringer said, and is the only Goodwill plant that makes military apparel.
"Because of the war in Iraq, demand for product has increased substantially in the past year," he said. "At one point, at least half of every hat worn by one of the armed forces has a label from Goodwill of South Florida."