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Consultant tells Garner to raze former Slim Jim plant

Posted February 23, 2012

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— A consultant has recommended that Garner demolish a former ConAgra Foods plant and redevelop the site to attract biotechnology companies.

ConAgra shuttered the plant last year and shifted production of its Slim Jim beef jerky products to Ohio. The move came two years after an explosion at the Garner plant killed four people and halted production for more than two months.

At its peak, the plant employed about 700 people.

The Omaha, Neb.-based company donated the 450,000-square-foot plant and the surrounding 106 acres to Garner and agreed to pay the town $3 million toward building a planned community center.

Garner Economic Development Corp. hired Sanford Holshouser to devise a plan for site, and the Raleigh consultant said the building should be razed and infrastructure be put in place to begin marketing the site to other employers.

Demolishing the plant would save Garner the $16,000 a month now spent on maintaining the building, the consultant said.

Attracting life science companies to the area would be the best way to achieve Garner's goals of rebuilding its tax base after ConAgra's departure and creating hundreds of well-paying jobs, according to the consultant.

Garner officials also should reconsider renaming Jones Sausage Road, which runs by the plant, to help attract new industry, the consultant said.

19 Comments

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  • Gerbil Herder Feb 24, 2012

    Piene, CA gave Garner a double gift: money for a community center AND their building / land for Garner to eventually replace with another industry for all the jobs that were lost when they moved. Probably in their best interest since people died on their watch.

  • wildpig777 Feb 24, 2012

    i coulda tole em that for a mere 10,000.00

  • ct girl Feb 24, 2012

    I believe the Town of Garner is looking at using the $3m to make improvements and additions to the Avery Street Center on Garner Rd.

  • piene2 Feb 24, 2012

    "I do not beleive that the community center has to be built on that spot; money was donated for a community center, but it can be anywhere within Garner.
    Gerbil Herder"

    Were I to donate land and money for a community center that center would have to be on that land.

  • Gerbil Herder Feb 24, 2012

    I do not beleive that the community center has to be built on that spot; money was donated for a community center, but it can be anywhere within Garner.

  • Gerbil Herder Feb 24, 2012

    They have torn down the section that was leaning, so there seems to be no outward structural damage at this point. There is a fence around the entire property so I doubt there are any homeless people in the building.

  • 3779LRRP Feb 23, 2012

    Taken from the net.

    The unusual name comes from, yes, a company that made sausages (and hot dogs), the Jesse Jones Sausage Company. The famously bright-red hot dogs, which were served for years at NC State's Reynolds Coliseum and are still served at Martinsville Speedway in southern Virginia, are manufactured at the ConAgra Foods plant just west of the I-40 interchange; through a series of mergers, Jesse Jones wound up as a subsidiary of ConAgra and a sister brand to Slim Jims, also manufactured at the same plant.

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Feb 23, 2012

    I appreciate the history behind Jones Sausage Road, but realistically, the consultant is right: Microsoft, SAS, RTI, and other technology companies are looking for "Technology Boulevard" or some such, and would be turned off by the original name. "McCreery Boulevard" might be acceptable - just a thought.

    So what about this new community center? $3 Million would make a nice place. What is the status? Does anyone have any information about it? What, where, when?

  • mmtlash Feb 23, 2012

    what does renaming Jones Sausage Rd have to do with anything? Was the road named this after Con Agra located there or is the name just too countrified sounding for the consultant?

  • beaupeep Feb 23, 2012

    STS: I'm guessing huge write-off, good press and lawsuit avoidance.

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