Saied said the project is fully financed and construction could begin in 90 days. It will take nine months to a year to build the plant, which will be expandable. Akyumen also might consider future manufacturing operations elsewhere in the city.
He expects the company can create more than 2,000 jobs in three to five years and potentially more if all the carriers and distributors in the United States use its devices. Production worker jobs will pay at least $35,000 a year. The company also will employ people in higher-paying “science, technology and mathematics” jobs.
Gary will work with WorkOne to train residents for the positions, aiming to line up job opportunities for as many Gary residents as possible.
“Our company is not about creating sweatshop jobs in the United States,” Saied said. “It will create smart jobs.”
The plant will be up and running by spring of 2022, but the company expects to occupy the Genesis Center and begin operations there within the next 90 days.
Akyumen will take over the Genesis Convention Center, which late Mayor Richard Hatcher built in 1981 in the hopes of revitalizing the downtown. The 7,000-seat multi-purpose arena, which has been on the market since 2017, ended up largely underused and losing money for the city but hosted the Gary Steelheads and Gary Splash minor league basketball teams, concerts, graduations, NAACP events, political gatherings and even a rodeo.