One of Santa Clarita’s larger manufacturing employers--motor home builder Rexhall Industries Inc.--announced Wednesday that it hopes to relocate its business and 170 jobs to a planned new facility in Lancaster within the coming year.
At a news conference with Lancaster city officials, Rexhall chairman and co-founder William Rex said he was swayed by Lancaster’s new program of offering relocating companies incentives of up to $2,000 per job if they bring 25 or more manufacturing or office jobs.
With two Rexhall motor homes parked in the background outside Lancaster City Hall, city and company officials said they are negotiating a development agreement to finalize the move. The Lancaster City Council could consider the agreement in early November.
Lancaster officials would not disclose the value of the subsidy they are discussing. But a company spokesman said Rexhall expects to cut its facility overhead cost by one-half or two-thirds by leaving its current leased site and acquiring a 10- to 15-acre site in Lancaster with city aid.
Rexhall officials said they had discussed the move with Santa Clarita officials. But Santa Clarita City Manager George Caravalho said he knew nothing of the company’s planned move or of other city officials being involved. “This is news to me,” Caravalho said.
Caravalho declined to say whether Santa Clarita will offer incentives to try to keep the company. Rexhall, founded in 1986 and located in Santa Clarita since 1989, sells its motor homes through a network of about 80 dealers nationwide and in several foreign countries.
Mike Hill, Rexhall’s executive vice president, said the company occupies about 80,000 square feet of building space in a Saugus industrial park and has been producing about three motor homes a day. The company plans a similar-size operation in Lancaster if it relocates.
Hill said the company’s potential move was spurred in part by a lease expiration in January and a desire to cut costs. The company plans to extend its lease in Santa Clarita a year to provide time to open its planned Lancaster operation by next fall.
Asked about the chances of Rexhall’s move, Hill said: “We can’t look at it as 100%, but probably in the high 90s.” And referring to the company’s negotiations with Lancaster, he said: “They’ve given us every indication they’re going to work with us in a very favorable way.”