Eight months of work have paid off for the city of St. Elmo in the form of a new distribution center for an existing industry that will create about 40 new jobs for the area.
St. Elmo Mayor Ernie Myers recently announced that a state-of-the-art, 755,000-square-foot distribution center will be built on Brewbaker Drive, east of Pinnance Foods manufacturing plant.
Myers said that SunTrust Equity Funding LLC, a division of SunTrust Banks Inc. will own the facility. Pinnacle Foods will lease the building for storage of its products, with a third-party logistics partner operating the distribution center.
Myers said that St. Elmo was one of three communities with Pinnacle facilities that were being considered for the center.
The distribution center, Myers said, is scheduled for completion in the middle of December, with Pinnacle agreeing to a 15-year term on the lease.
The center is expected to create about 40 more jobs on the Pinnancle footprint, Myers said, adding that Pinnacle employees will have the opportunity to transfer to St. Elmo before new jobs are opened up locally.
The St. Elmo mayor said that the announcement comes after months of work by city officials and numerous conference calls.
“We’ve been working on this since August of last year,” he said.
“When it started, we had three pages of hoops to jump through, we had two or three meetings, and we had at least one conference call a week, trying to pull things together,” Myers said.
Things that were needed to make it happen, he said, included a new road and the extension of a water line.
While a new road was not included in SunTrust’s budget, Myers said, “they agreed to pick it up.” The city has a 250,000-gallon ground storage tank that can be used by Pinnacle.
Myers said that the city offered SunTrust land at the city’s Interstate 70 interchange that was within St. Elmo’s TIF boundaries, but SunTrust wanted something closer, to cut down on the transportation of products in and out of the distribution center.
The land on which the center is being built was brought within city limits, and SunTrust will use Enterprise Zone benefits for its construction, he said.
Currently, he said, Pinnacle has about 75 trucks going in an out of its St. Elmo plant each day. That will increase to about 200 trucks daily, Myers said.
The center will be built on 73.5 acres of land adjacent to the Pinnacle Foods plant that were purchased for the project. The available land will allow for future growth, if that is deemed necessary, Myers said.
“They have been really nice people to work with,” Myers said, adding that the city has been working to establish and continue a strong relationship with Pinnacle in recent years.
“When Pinnacle first wanted to expand, I had been elected in April, and they contacted me in August.
“They wanted to know if we could do this and we could do that, and we did everything we could to accommodate them,” Myers said.
“I’m just glad that they were willing to come to us when they wanted to make improvements,” he said.
“A lot of people were involved in making this happen, and we’re thankful for their involvement,” Myers said, explaining that many people saw the benefits of the distribution center.
“I really see this as helping our community … and all of Fayette County, really,” Myers said.