By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore City Council, during a special meeting held Wednesday, October 7, unanimously ratified all pending agreements related to the location here of a state-of-the-art peanut processing plant that is expected to make Atmore the hub of Alabama’s peanut shelling industry.
The project’s estimated $82.3 million price tag includes construction of the facility, the purchase of two tracts of land and an option to purchase a third tract. The major portion of the land for the shelling plant, 56.74 acres, was donated by the city.
The company has been granted tax abatements for 10 years, including sales taxes on construction materials and equipment, as well as city and county ad valorem taxes. The abatement does not include education taxes.
The shelling plant will be owned and operated by Coastal Growers LLC, a consortium of peanut farmers from western Escambia County, northwest Florida, northern Baldwin County, southern Monroe County and Sand Mountain.
According to the agreements ratified and signed last week by city council members, construction of the massive agricultural facility was to have begun on October 1. Since the documents didn’t gain council approval until October 7, that date has obviously changed, but no announcement of the new date has been made.
Other particulars of the agreements:
*The company expects to begin actual shelling operations by December 1, 2021.
*The company expects to hire a minimum of 100 fulltime employees by March 15, 2022. Employees will earn an average of $17 per hour, with fringe benefits including but not limited to health insurance, retirement and life insurance.
*The city will sell a 29.95-acre tract to Coastal Growers LLC at $4,000 per acre.
*The city will sell a portion of a 27.5-acre tract to Coastal Growers LLC at $4,000 per acre.
*Coastal Growers LLC will have the option to purchase and the right of first refusal on a 36.42-acre parcel at $4,000 per acre (total: $145,680).
*The city will purchase 10 acres (more or less) from TDG Operations, the parent company of Masland Carpets, for a rail spur.