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6/13/2018 1:37:00 PM
Saturn Petcare buying old Pfizer building in Vigo County, bringing 200 jobs

Howard Greninger, Tribune-Star

Seelyville is out of the running as the location for Saturn Petcare, but a former Pfizer building is in, meaning the company still intends to bring 200 new jobs to Vigo County.

In addition, Taghleef Industries is considering a $70 million investment to construct a new building and add a new oriented polypropylene line to its plant in northern Vigo County at 3600 E. Head Ave.

Both Saturn Petcare and Taghleef Industries gained preliminary approval Tuesday night from the Vigo County Council for 10-year tax abatements on real and personal property. The council suspended its rules to hear the tax abatement requests, which were not listed on its agenda.

Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp., said Saturn Petcare could not reach a purchase agreement for the former Kellogg's plant in Seelyville. However, the company will now improve the former Pfizer property.

"While the building is in fair condition, this is not a turnkey building by any means," Witt told the council. The building has not been heated or cooled for eight years; has some mold issues; needs a new roof; and will need higher ceilings. The building will also require a new natural gas boiler system, Witt added.

Saturn Petcare will invest $13.8 million into the facility, at 100 E. Pfizer Drive in the Vigo County Industrial Park, along with $25 million in new equipment. Witt said the county will offer the company 126 acres in the industrial park for $1, with a "clawback" agreement that the company pay the county $5,000 per employee not hired by the end of 2019. That would equal $1 million.

Witt said that is the same agreement the county had with a former proposed Nantworks project that fell through. The county filed a lawsuit in that agreement, which Nantworks settled out of court by returning the property to the county. Witt said because of concrete building slabs and underground infrastructure left behind by Pfizer, the entire 126 acres is not suitable for building, but it is easier for the county to sell the entire lot instead of attempting to parcel out the building, Witt told the council.

Additionally, the county's incentive to pay $500,000 for pre-treatment equipment of waste water remains in effect for the Pfizer site, Witt said. The site will also require the company to extend a water main.

Lou Britton, attorney for Saturen Petcare, said tax abatement does not remove taxes, but phases them in over the 10-year period. During that phase in, the company will pay about $2.3 million in personal and real property taxes, plus approximately $1 million in payroll taxes during the abatement, Britton said.

Saturn Petcare plans to start work on the former Pfizer property in the fourth quarter of 2018, with the project completed by late 2019, he said.

Taghleef Industries is one of eight sites the company is considering for a new high speed, 8.7-meter oriented polypropylene production line to make film for products such as potato chip bags and other food products such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi containers, said Britton, who is also attorney for Taghleef. The company, if Terre Haute is selected, would construct a new $17.5 million, 84,000-square-foot building for the production line, adding $52.5 million in new equipment. 

"The location of the new line has not yet been determined, but [we hope] with the help of a local abatement, Terre Haute will succeed in winning the internal competition in Taghleef to have that new line located here," Britton said. "That is one of the reasons we needed to keep this moving, to show progress to the home office on the subject of local incentives to keep our position in that competition," Britton said.

The project would help retain 400 full-time jobs with an annual payroll of more than $25.1 million. The average hourly rate for the jobs is more than $25, Britton told the council. The facility pays more than $1.184 million in real, personal and local income taxes annually, he said.

Britton said Taghleef Industries would pay more than an estimated $3.2 million in real and personal property taxes over the period of the abatement, and the company have more than $4 million in real and personal property taxes abated during the 10-year period.

"This is the company's only facility located in the United States," Britton said of the Dubai-based global company.

Taghleef Industries located in a facility that began as Hercules Inc., then was purchased in 1994 by AET Films. Taghleef purchased the Vigo County plant in 2012.

2018 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.

Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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