by Matt Wagner - Reporter
A Texas-based supply chain services company announced its plans today to build a 400,000-square-foot distribution center on Republic's west side that would employ about 400 people.
McLane Co. Inc. of Temple, Texas, has agreed to build the gigantic facility on 132 acres near the intersection of Greene County Farm Road 156 and State Highway MM. McLane - a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. - bought the property from Drury University for an undisclosed amount in a transaction that closed this week, said Ken Johnson, Drury's vice president for administration and finance.
Drury also sold 40 acres to the city of Republic for future development of a neighborhood park, said Gail Noggle, the city's economic development director.
Local, county and state officials, including Gov. Jay Nixon, gathered Tuesday at the Republic Community Center to publicize the company's plans and share the back story behind what was known for more than a year as "Project Secret," Noggle said.
Republic officials learned about McLane's interest in building a distribution center in Missouri some 14 months ago. And after months of negotiations that included "some tense times," Noggle said McLane chose Republic after considering nearly 60 sites, most of them in Missouri.
McLane officials have applied for the Missouri Quality Jobs Program, which extends tax credits to companies that create jobs with health benefits and salaries at or above the average wage in their respective counties. The average salary for McLane employees will be $34,000, said Republic City Administrator Jim Krischke.
The total amount of tax credits sought by McLane was not available at Tuesday's news conference. City officials said the company also be eligible for tax breaks through the state's Enhanced Enterprise Zone program.
McLane's corporate director of logistics, Cortney Hunt, said the company rarely builds more than a couple distribution centers each year. The newest facility opened last year in Jessup, Penn., he said.
Hunt said the distribution center in Republic - expected to open in the third quarter of 2010 - would serve grocery stores, restaurants and convenience stores in Missouri and surrounding states. Wal-Mart and 7-Eleven are among McLane's clients, he said.
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