First Lipton payment approved

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The city’s Economic Development Authority on Wednesday approved the first payment of more than $1 million to Unilever as an incentive for keeping its Lipton packaging plant in the city.

The company announced in March it would keep the plant in the city, after examining other options, and invest $96 million in new equipment. The city offered the company up to $3.7 million from the Economic Development Investment Program to stay. The company also received $1 million from the state’s Virginia Investment Partnership Program.

The grants are based upon future taxes the city expects to receive from the new equipment and building improvement. The grants will be paid in six installments after the new equipment’s installation is verified by city staff.


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“It’s very impressive what they’ve done so far,” Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes told Authority members on Wednesday. “Taking this facility that’s almost 50 years old and bringing it up to date while still producing is quite a task.”

The vote to approve the first payment was unanimous, with members Dwight Nixon and Dimi Barot absent.

The facility on West Washington Street opened in 1955 and packages all Lipton tea bag products sold in the United States — one million per hour and nearly six billion annually.