Kingsport Times-News: Snack company bringing nearly 300 jobs to Kingsport
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Snack company bringing nearly 300 jobs to Kingsport

Matthew Lane • Mar 18, 2015 at 10:45 PM

UPDATE:

KINGSPORT - A Vancouver-based specialty snack foods company plans to establish its U.S. headquarters in Kingsport later this year through a $22 million investment in a new manufacturing facility and the creation of 273 new jobs.Pure Foods, Inc., - a maker of gluten-free snack foods - plans to establish its U.S. headquarters in an existing 83,000 square foot building in the Gateway Commerce Park off Interstate 26. The manufacturing facility will serve markets primarily in the United States, Canada and Mexico.Clay Walker, director of NETWORKS – Sullivan Partnership, made the announcement Wednesday morning during a called meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.“We're thrilled you've grown to love Kingsport and Sullivan County,” Walker said of Pure Foods officials. “And this was a highly competitive project. The company was looking at three other states (Indiana, Virginia and Alabama) and one was offering them free land and more incentives than we were.”Walker further said Pure Foods is looking to go national with its products, and that the products fit well with the Healthy Tennessee program recently announced.“And on a personal note, these are fine gentlemen we're working with,” Walker said.Mike Wells, general manager at Pure Foods, attended Wednesday's called meeting and said the company is planning to start hiring people “pretty soon” and for the manufacturing facility to be up and running in September.Wells said a few of the jobs may be transfers from Vancouver, but that the overwhelming majority of new hires would be locally.“We're excited about being here, the ownership has a history in our area, we know the workforce and are happy to be apart of the area here,” Wells said. An affiliate of Pure Foods is Interstate Snacks of Bristol, Va.For Pure Foods to establish its headquarters and manufacturing facility Kingsport, an incentive deal had to be worked out, which Walker explained on Wednesday.The $22 million investment is comprised of two parts - $15.5 million of equipment and $6.5 million for the purchase of the land. The 273 jobs would be over a three year period and have an annual payroll of $8 million, Walker said.“They have a lot of equity in this project from day one,” said Bill Dudney, chairman of the Kingsport Economic Development Board.The KEDB will purchase from NETWORKS, 33 acres in Gateway Commerce Park and the 83,000 square foot speculative building built last year. Walker said a state grant of $1.2 million will be used to purchase the building while Pure Foods will pay $440,000 for the land.KEDB attorney Gorman Waddell said the board would borrow up to $6.5 million from First Tennessee Bank. The money would go to pay NETWORKS the purchase price of the property and $1.6 million to J.A. Street & Associates for building the speculative building and completing the interior to Pure Foods' specifications.Pure Foods will then lease the property for 10 years with an additional five year option. Waddell said KEDB would receive the lease payments, which will be sufficient to pay off the loan.The BMA held the called meeting to approve a measure basically saying the city would provide up to $6.5 million for the project – if necessary - to essentially be the “back stop” for the KEDB in the event the lease is terminated early.The KEDB held a special called meeting in the same room, right after the BMA meeting, and voted to approve the deal with Pure Foods.Walked said the deal is essentially a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) incentive, but not on the personal property at the Pure Foods facility.“Roughly, what that means is over 10 years there will be $800,000 in taxes, none of which will be abated,” Walker said.

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KINGSPORT - On Wednesday morning city and economic development officials announced plans for a $22 million investment, saying it will create 273 jobs within the next 48 months at Gateway Commerce Park in Sullivan County.Pure Foods of Vancouver, British Columbia, makes gluten-free snacks and will locate in the park. The deal announced today includes a 15-year, capitalized lease through the Kingsport Economic Development Board and backed by the city of Kingsport on Gateway Spec Building, an 83,000-square-foot facility. It will be located near the Interstates 26 and 81 interchange. A grant of just over $1.2 million from the state has been approved for the project and will be paid directly to KEDB. The deal includes a two-year delay before the company begins making payments.Check back with Timesnews.net for more on this developing story.

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