By MELINDA WILLIAMS
Phoenix Packaging took over the lease of the former Dove Windows plant Dec. 1 to prepare the building for its next expansion project.
Pulaski County Board of Supervisors approved a Performance Agreement with Phoenix Monday night that will provide the company with a $250,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund (GOF) to upgrade electrical services in the Dove Building.
GOF grants require a local match, so Pulaski County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) is providing reduced rent to Phoenix, said County Administrator Peter Huber.
Monday night, Community Development Director Shawn Utt told the supervisors reducing rent allowed the county to meet its obligation for a match without there being any “cash out of pocket for the board.”
This is Phoenix’s second expansion since opening in early 2011. According to Utt, the latest $20 million investment includes about $16.5 million for machinery and almost $4 million for building renovations.
“So, even if the unthinkable happens, there will have been substantial improvements to the building in the approximately $4 million of electrical and air improvements,” Massie District Supervisor Andy McCready said.
“Yes,” Utt responded.
McCready said it is his understanding the county never lost any rent money on the Dove building even though Dove closed in August.
Utt said that is true. He noted Dove paid rent on the building until Nov. 30 and “Phoenix had people in there cleaning on Dec. 1, so we never really lost tenant occupancy.”
It was pointed out that Phoenix already has surpassed its projected employment level.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Phoenix isn’t over 500 employees by this time next year,” said Utt. “They were committed to have more than 440 in three years.”