AAON Coil Products Inc. executives and longtime employees turned soil Thursday at the site of what will be the company’s 422,000-square-foot expansion on Gum Springs Road.

“It means jobs,” Kelly Kinsey Overby, industry retention director for Longview Economic Development Corp. said, “and they’re creating over 125 jobs in the next four years with this $28 million project.”

LEDCO directors, Longview City Councilman Ed Moore and at least 100 AAON Coil Products employees celebrated the expansion during a groundbreaking ceremony completed with a Texas-themed hot air balloon that raised from the ground to display AAON’s company banner.

AAON Coil Products manufactures commercial HVAC equipment. Gary Fields, president of the company based in Tulsa, said Longview was selected from among nine competing cities in three states to relocate the manufacturing of its SA Series self-contained unit product from Tulsa.

“There was no compelling reason for us to depart from either one of our existing facility locations,” Fields said, “so our engineering department and their strategic vision looked at product alignment and said, ‘Which product should we be building in which locations?’”

The transfer will allow the Tulsa facility to focus on other products while allowing revenue growth and expansion in Longview, AAON Coil Products Vice President Cory Simmons said.

“What we do here is smaller tonnage equipment up to 70 tons, so that’s what we do here that’s different from our Tulsa facility that does large-package rooftop deals,” Simmons said.

Simmons expects contractors to begin construction within the next few months on property immediately west of AAON’s current plant on Gum Springs Road, about 2 miles east of downtown Longview.

“We will be anticipating October 2020 with the facility up and running,” he said.

LEDCO and its supporting entities made the expansion favorable for AAON Coil Products to choose Longview, company executives said.

In June, LEDCO offered a performance agreement that provides a $1.25 million incentive to AAON, along with recommendations that Gregg County and the city each extend 50% abatement of the company’s property taxes.

“LEDCO has been a very instrumental part of making this thing happen,” Simmons said. “They were the conduit between us and the city and allowing us, through some of their incentives, to move forward.”

Pay range for the 125 jobs will be between $15 and $18 an hour.

“These are good manufacturing jobs,” Overby said. “They pay well and will give good benefits to the employees here in Longview.”

Now, it’s time to get to work, Simmons said.

“We’re excited about this. We’ve been trying for a long time here in Longview to build and grow a great organization down here full of great people. We think we’ve done that,” Simmons said, “and now it’s time for the building to grow up around us, so this gives us a chance to really impact our customers and our community.”

Jimmy Daniell Isaac covers the city of Longview and Gregg County. Follow him on Twitter: @jimmyisaaclives.