Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Jobs May Return to Affton

After much speculation, it appears that the County Econ. Development folks have courted a suitor for our beloved and very vacant candy plant. From the Suburban Journal:

County sweetens deal to reopen Willy Wonka factory
Steve BirminghamOf the Suburban Journals
Oakville-Mehlville Journal,South County Journal
10/11/2006

Veruca Salt would not be pleased, but Willy Wonka's factory in Affton may crank up candy production without her.The St. Louis County Council passed a resolution last week spelling out their intention to issue $10 million in industrial development revenue bonds to help an Irish company purchase the former Nestle USA manufacturing plant at 8021 New Hampshire Ave., in Affton.The plant formerly manufactured Willy Wonka chocolate products, Sweet Tarts and other candies but was closed by Nestle USA, which also closed a factory at 100 Water Street in South St. Louis in 2003. Almost 355 employees were laid off in the closings.The bonds would be issued for Kerry Inc. of Tralee, Ireland, which would reopen the plant to also manufacture sweets. A report on the project from the St. Louis County Economic Council said Kerry would spend $3 million on real estate and $7 million on equipment within the first three years, and bring an estimated 200 new jobs to the area. Kerry also is seeking a 35-percent abatement on real estate and personal property for 10 years and a sales tax exemption on building materials for the project.
Council Chairman Kurt Odenwald, R-5th Dist., said the Affton school and fire districts have already been notified of the proposal. Odenwald said he wanted to do "everything that's necessary to get this company to invest in the plant and get the facility open."Under the plan, revenues from the bond sales would finance the costs of purchasing, constructing and equipping the plant and the bonds would be payable solely from payments, revenues and receipts from the leasing the facility to Kerry.According to the plan the bonds and the interest on them will not be a debt of the county or the state and neither will be financially liable for them.

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