Steel fabricator in Hudson doubling production spaceBy RYAN LESSARD
Union Leader Correspondent
June 18. 2018 11:29PM
HUDSON — SL Chasse Steel, a structural steel fabricator, plans to double the size of its main plant in response to a booming construction sector in southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Interim Town Planner George Thebarge said the facility at 8 Christine Drive is looking to add 38,000 square feet. It applied for site plan approval on May 22. And it will likely be reviewed by the planning board as early as July 11.
Owner and company president Stephen Chasse said the facility being expanded is currently 34,000 square feet. The company hopes to more than double in size and ramp up production capacity by spring of next year. Chasse expects the project will cost $2 million for the construction and another $500,000 for new equipment.
“We’ll be starting construction this fall,” Chasse said. The commpany employs 120 people and plans to add 10 to 20 positions next spring, he said.
Chasse has hired Lauer Architects, SW&C Engineering and Keach-Nordstrom Associates Inc. for the engineering and design work.
The expansion is a direct result of increased demand in steel construction material in the region, Chasse said.
He estimates the large industrial facilities used for manufacturing and warehousing takes up about 50 percent of his business, while residential condos and apartments make up about 25 percent.
More developers are using “podium framing” for the first floor of apartment buildings, Chasse said, which uses steel and builds with wood on top of that.
Demand has been growing since the economy began to recover from the Great Recession around 2013, according to Chasse.
The business first opened in Hudson in 1989 and moved to its current location in 2000. It has added 40,000 square feet of facility space between its two buildings in the last four years.
The company occupies a second building on 10 Christine Drive, which is about 24,000 square feet.
Chasse said he is in the process of purchasing a 5-acre property at 5 Christine Drive right now, which will enable the company to expand further if needed. There are buildings there currently.
So far, the company has already been affected by 25 percent tariffs on steel imports from the European Union, Mexico and Canada, which were recently imposed by the Trump administration.
The cost of materials have risen by 25 to 30 percent as a direct result of the tariffs, according to Chasse.
“It could go up again depending on supply and demand,” Chasse said.
The bottom line for the company is not seriously hurt yet however, since he said the changes in material cost are passed onto the customer, which means developers are buying construction steel at a higher premium.