FORT WORTH-Allens Inc., a family-owned and operated vegetableprocessor, has purchased the former Ranch Style Beans facility at1734 East El Paso St. from ConAgra. The 211,743-square-footproperty, which sits on 20 acres near downtown, is valued at $15million, according to the Tarrant County Appraisal District.

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The Siloam Springs, AR-based company will invest $5 million innew equipment to retrofit and modernize the facility, which ConAgraclosed in late 2009. It will use the facility for its newestcanning facility, bringing 140 jobs to the community.

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The Fort Worth City Council approved Allen’s final incentivepackage this week. It gives the company a 50% tax abatement for amaximum of 10 years, according to David Berzina, executive vicepresident of economic development for the Fort Worth Chamber ofCommerce.

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In deciding to offer the tax abatement, the City did a costbenefit analysis to weigh the benefits and drawbacks, Berzina tellsGlobeSt. “We looked at an aging facility and what happens if itstays vacant,” he explains. “Only bad things can happen with it; itbecomes a blight on the community. A 50% tax abetment outweighs thepotential blight.”

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Berzina also points out that Allens plans to hire a number offormer Ranch Style Beans employees who were laid off last year.“Not only have we taken away the potential for that building tobecome an eyesore, but we’re putting people back to work,” henotes.

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In addition to the new equipment, Allens has agreed to invest$20,000 for aesthetic improvements to the facility, which was beingmarketed by David Sours, a first vice president in CB RichardEllis’ Food Facilities Group.

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Berzina tells GlobeSt. that the City had been working withConAgra to backfill the facility with one of its suppliers whenAllens contacted the City. The deal has been in the works sinceFebruary, he notes.

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Allens, which owns and operates 13 plants throughout thecountry, expects the new plant to be operational by June 15,2010.

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