GJ company leading huge aquarium project

A Grand Junction company’s plan to oversee construction of what will be the world’s third-largest aquarium and the largest in the Southern hemisphere got a boost from the Export-Import Bank.

International Concept Management will supervise the design and construction of the $150 million Acquario Aquarium in Fortaleza, Brazil. The project is moving ahead with a $105 million loan from the Export-Import Bank. 

International Concept Management, 2530 Foresight Circle, is a sister company of Reynolds Polymer Technology Inc., which manufactures proprietary acrylic plastic in Grand Junction from its headquarters at 607 Hollingsworth St. Reynolds Polymer is involved in the project.

“There will be a number of people hired, some locally and some from out of state,” said Nathan Reynolds, vice president of operations at International Concept Management.

Construction is to begin early next year at the latest and the job has a two-year construction schedule, Reynolds said.

The Export-Import Bank loan was arranged to finance the export of American goods and services, and at least 90 percent of the export contract value will be provided by small businesses in the United States.

“The aquarium, which attests to the craftsmanship of American workers, will be a major tourist attraction in Brazil that will help support jobs here at home,” the Export-Import Bank said in announcing the loan.

“The Ex-Im Bank’s loan is a valuable form of insurance that allows us to take the risk of entering a new and unpredictable market, ultimately helping us to provide hundreds of new jobs here in Colorado,” said Peter DiGrazia, chief operating officer of International Concept Management.

The aquarium will include 25 large tanks in a four-story structure that will showcase 500 marine species and 35,000 individual specimens. It also will contain movie theaters and an educational portion for the study and preservation of aquatic life along the Brazilian coastal regions.

“This loan is a perfect example of how the Ex-Im Bank — by providing much-need financing and security — is helping small businesses in Colorado enter international markets,” U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said in a statement. “When Colorado companies break ground on international projects like this aquarium, it creates hundreds of jobs here in our state, and thousands across the country through the supply chain. In this way, the Ex-Im Bank is an important driver for our nation’s economy.”

Bennet earlier this year worked to pass reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank for two years and extend its lending capacity by $40 billion.

Another Grand Junction company, Leitner-Poma of America, in 2010 received a $2.3 million loan from the Export-Import Bank.


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