A Chatsworth-based manufacturer officially broke ground Wednesday on a $20-million Oxnard headquarters, which is expected to attract more than 500 jobs and boost the local economy.
Construction on Haas Automation Inc.'s 415,000-square-foot building at Rice Avenue and Sturgis Road actually started last week.
The company expects to begin relocating all of its operations to the facility, which is set on 76 acres, in December.
"This is a stable, high-paying employer that has the potential for some tremendous growth," said Valerie Busby-Draeger, a principal of Calabasas-based Triliad Development Inc., which is building the headquarters.
"One of the reasons they selected Oxnard is that this piece of property allows them expansion land."
Founded in 1993, Haas Automation makes automated machines, including lathes, and other mechanical accessories.
The company now operates out of a 200,000-square-foot facility in Chatsworth.
The groundbreaking comes 10 days after Nabisco Foods and Nestle USA Inc. shut down their operations in Oxnard, putting nearly 700 employees out of work.
Haas expects to hire some workers locally and relocate some employees from Chatsworth.
Steve Kinney, president of the Greater Oxnard Economic Development Corp., said Haas Automation will rank as Oxnard's second-largest manufacturing company after Procter & Gamble.
The firm will add $33 million in payroll and purchases to the local economy in its first year of operation, Kinney said.