On Tuesday night, the City Council deemed a long-time Fall River manufacturer an economic opportunity area, clearing the way for the company to pursue state tax incentives.

Klear Vu Corp., which has been manufacturing chair pads and rocking chair sets in the city since 1965, recently moved to its new facility at the former Genzyme building it purchased in the Fall River Industrial Park, according to Fall River Office of Economic Development Coordinator Lynn Creamer.

The company purchased the single-story, 170,000-square-foot building that sits on 13.4 acres at 600 Airport Road for $1.75 million in July and moved from its former headquarters in the Flint, located next to the Fall River Knitting Mill at 135 Alden St.

In July, when the sale was announced, Bob Cooper, Klear Vu president, said in a statement the company planned to expand to keep up with global competition.

Creamer said the corporation is seeking an abandoned building tax deduction from the Department of Revenue that requires a building be more than 75 percent vacant for more than two years.

Genzyme, which at one time produced surgical products and employed about 500 people in 1998, left Fall River around 2004. The building has been vacant and for sale ever since.
Klear Vu is also seeking a manufacturing retention project status, which will enable the company to receive incentive tax credits from the state.

In order to receive those tax credits, the company must add or retain 25 jobs within five years, Creamer said.
According to a letter from Mayor Will Flanagan to the City Council, Klear Vu has committed to creating 16 new permanent, full-time jobs.

Council Vice President Bradford Kilby called Klear Vu “a wonderful, wonderful company,” and said he has a friend who is 56 years old and has been working with the company since he was 18.

“They hire Fall River residents ... and it was a very significant move for them,” Kilby said. “It’s my understanding the owner and his son are in China presently, negotiating products that will be distributed from Fall River.”

The news that Klear Vu moved to the industrial park rekindled a controversial issue that the Fall River Industrial Park is still without high-speed Internet, and City Councilor Raymond Mitchell questioned what was being done.
Creamer said the Fall River Industrial Park Association is currently working with carriers and costing out bringing the service to the industrial park.

The Walter A. Furman Co., which produces architectural millwork at 180 Liberty St., was also on the agenda asking for a Tax Increment Financing agreement, but the company withdrew its request, Creamer said.

The company could not agree on the language in the TIF agreement, she said. The company’s officers were looking to change the language to “average jobs,” with the state requiring the language be “new, permanent and full-time jobs.”