Palmer Manufacturing and Tank, Inc., which recently purchased the Garden City steel and fiberglass tank manufacturing plant formerly owned by Worthington Industries, is making a $16 million investment in the facility and is expected to grow to employ roughly 200 people within the next three years, according to a statement from Gov. Jeff Colyer’s office.

Ohio-based Worthington acquired Palmer in April 2013 from Cecil O’Brate and his son, Steve, both of Garden City. But ownership of the plant, 2814 W. Jones Ave., was transferred from Worthington back to the O’Brates in July.

“We are delighted to see Palmer Manufacturing back under local ownership. The investment in expanding their Garden City operations will be a great addition to the region,” Colyer said in a press release. “Like many other manufacturers in Kansas, Palmer is able to expand in Kansas due to our strategic manufacturing resources, central location and excellent workforce. We are proud to partner with Palmer Manufacturing both now and in the future.”

Steve O’Brate, Palmer general manager, confirmed the sale on Friday.

“We are excited to be back in the tank manufacturing business because it’s an industry we know well,” Cecil O’Brate said in the governor's press release. “We look forward to bringing the Palmer name back to Garden City, creating jobs and investing in the community.” 

According to the governor’s office, Palmer Manufacturing worked closely with the Kansas Department of Commerce and Finney County Economic Development Corp. during the process of transitioning back to local ownership.

“Palmer Manufacturing has a long history of providing high quality products while building excellent employee relations,” Lona DuVall, President and CEO of the FCEDC, said in the governor's release. “We are extremely pleased to see their return to our community. Their customers across the country will be excited to rekindle their long-standing relationships with a company that has served them so well over the years.”