IDA grants Planters #036;200,000

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2005

Planters Peanuts is $200,000 closer to completing an expansion, thanks to the city.

On Wednesday, Suffolk’s Industrial Development Authority approved the grant from its Economic Development Investment Program fund, a pot of city money used as an incentive to draw new and expanding businesses into Suffolk.

Planters-in the process of building a 56,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the Fairgrounds, the city’s $10 million urban revitalization project-will use the EDIP grant to fund infrastructure changes that will benefit both the company and city, said Thomas O’Grady, the city’s director of economic development.

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Most of the grant, $175,000, will be used to relocate two above-ground propane storage tanks closer to the loading docks of the new building, said Jeryl Phillips, the city’s plans and policy coordinator.

The remainder will be used to design an 11-foot high sound wall that will stretch 485 feet, separating the Planters facility from the housing development, Phillips said.

The city needs the infrastructure changes to take place in order for the Fairgrounds to be in compliance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines, Phillips said.

&uot;This is mutually beneficially,&uot; she said. &uot;It is going to allow us both to move forward.&uot;

Planters will fund construction of the sound wall that will meet guidelines in the Unified Development Ordinance, Phillips said. But because HUD mandates the sound wall exceed city requirements, the city will pay for the difference in cost.

&uot;We see this as a win-win for Planters, the city and the Fairgrounds Initiative,&uot; said O’Grady. &uot;It is going to allow the Fairgrounds to move forward.&uot;

Planters began work on its expansion in January, shortly after ending more than a year of discussions with city officials over eight acres of downtown property that once belonged to the company.

Ultimately, the city sold Planters 1.2 acres to use for its expansion; the remaining acreage will be used for the Fairgrounds.