Brian Crabb, (from left) Skip Kelso and Kevin Winters put up eve struts on the new Gunwerks building on Blackburn recently.

Construction of the new Gunwerks building at 201 Blackburn on 5 acres overlooking the Shoshone River is progressing and on track for March 1 completion.

Forward Cody is building the 43,396-square-foot facility so Gunwerks can expand its production of firearms, ammunition and sporting optics. The company plans to add 75 full-time jobs with the expansion.

In July 2018, the Cody City Council agreed to support a state grant and loan application submitted by Forward Cody.

The Wyoming Business Council awarded a $3 million grant and a $3 million low-interest loan for the project, and that money is funneled through City of Cody accounts. Forward Cody is reimbursed for costs as expenses are incurred.

No city funds are committed to the project and the city does not own the building.

Forward Cody, a local economic development corporation, will lease the property to Gunwerks for five years before founder and CEO Aaron Davidson has the option to buy.

Gunwerks now leases a building from Forward Cody at 2301 Lt Childers St.

Recently, James Klessens, Forward Cody president, said the concrete floor is in place, support beams were going up and a 100-yard shooting tunnel designed for firearms testing is finished.

Packages of steel for the prefabricated building began arriving Aug. 26. In all, nine truckloads of product are expected.

Over the next eight weeks the outside walls will go up and the building will be made weather tight by about Oct. 15, Klessens said.

Then inside framing, wiring, plumbing, etc., will proceed.

“The building took a little bit longer to get here than we planned,” Klessens said.

But by rescheduling other aspects of the project, he said they may be somewhat behind – “But not by much.”

The state awarded grant funds first. When most of that money was spent, it was time to execute the loan documents for release as the second phase of funding.

As sponsor, the city council recently approved the necessary loan documents and legalities with the WBC.

“The loan is secured by a mortgage on the property, and although the city is the borrower on the loan, there is no liability to the city for repayment if the loan defaults,” said by Klessens in a written report to the council.

The 30-year loan carries 1.5 percent interest. The annual lease payment Gunwerks has agreed to pay Forward Cody is $154,416 and the annual debt service payment is $124,917.

Forward Cody plans to spend the resulting net income of $29,499 on future economic development projects and continued development of the Gunwerks manufacturing facility.

Forward Cody and Gunwerks agree to pay loan closing costs of $3,774.

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