RANSON, W.Va. — The decision a few years ago by leaders in the Jefferson County City of Ranson to annex the former Jefferson Orchards property along state Route 9 paid off in a big way Thursday when the manufacturing company Roxul announced plans to build a $150 million plant there.

Roxul, which makes stone wool insulation, decided the Ranson site was the best after reviewing a number of other sites for its second North American plant, Ranson City Manager Andy Blake said.

“We competed with people from all over the company. Their site selection team decided this was strategically one of the best places to expand their North American market,” Blake said. “It’s a flat 400-acre piece of ground. It’s beside a Class I railroad and it’s along West Virginia Route 9.”

Roxul plans to use 130 acres of the site to build its plant. The company said it’s looking to hire 150 people from management to production jobs in the months to come.

“This new production site places us close to major population centers in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and mid-western United States,” Roxul President Trent Ogilvie said. “We’re growing along with the market, and we look forward to serving our customers’ needs from this new facility.”

“West Virginia welcomes Roxul as the newest international member to join our business community,” Gov. Jim Justice said in a news release. “This achievement is the result of the outstanding teamwork between Roxul, our Development Office, the Jefferson County Development Authority, Jefferson County Commission and the City of Ranson.”

Blake said Thursday on MetroNews “Talkline”  negotiations began last November but the identity of the manufacturer was kept secret for a few months. He said Ranson and Roxul then spent several months “getting to know each other.”

The state spent millions a few years ago updating Route 9. Blake believes the Roxul facility will encourage other development along the highway.

“This is going to bring all of the infrastructure that’s going to be needed all the way down the Route 9 Corridor,” Blake said. “Not only do we get the benefit of broadening our tax base, great employment opportunities, but we also prime the pump for future economic development.”

Roxul plans to start construction in October and hopes to begin production by the first quarter of 2020. Blake said the company is also talking about a second phase.

Roxul is part of the Rockwool Group.  Roxul melts stone to make insulation products for business, industry and homes. The company’s Mississippi plant makes 1,100 different products, Blake said.

“We aim to continue double-digit growth in the United States, and this new factory will play a major role in ensuring we meet the growing customer demand for non-combustible stone wool insulation in this market,” Rockwool Group President and CEO Jens Birgersson said in a news release from the company.