Consultant tells Garner to raze former Slim Jim plant
Posted February 23, 2012
Garner, N.C. — 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.