A new $15 million poultry processing plant is expected to bring up to 180 new jobs to the Tuscaloosa market.
Fit Foodz, an Atlanta-based company that now serves the retail and restaurant industry across the globe, is planning to open its latest chicken processing plant at 2773 39th St.
According to the Tuscaloosa County Economic Development Authority (TCEDA), which announced the new industry on Thursday, Fit Foodz plans to expand the existing facility now on the 7-acre 39th Street site to accommodate a raw processing line and a fully‐cooked line, with each employing two shifts.
Construction on the building expansion is expected to begin by the end of the year, officials said.
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“The introduction of Fit Foodz to our community will add to our existing poultry business base while introducing a new corporate citizen to support our continued economic growth,” said Tuscaloosa City Councilman Norman Crow, who also serves as chairman for Tuscaloosa County Economic Development Authority, in a news release.
And to get there, the TCEDA – formerly known as the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority – agreed to a tax rebate incentive agreement to help Fit Foodz get established.
According to the incentive package agreed to by the authority’s board of directors on Thursday, Fit Foodz will be eligible for up to $1.08 million in tax abatements of the non‐educational sales and use taxes for purchases of equipment and building materials during the construction phase of the project and an abatement of the non‐educational ad valorem taxes on certain real and personal property for up to 10 years.
This is expected by to be offset by an estimated contribution of $910,031 in tax revenue in non‐abated taxes, including education taxes, from initial purchases alone, during the first 10 years of operations, and the TCEDA estimates the project will contribute almost $13 million during its first 20 years in certain taxes generated from the company and direct employee spending.
“This new investment by Fit Foodz represents an opportunity for us to grow an industry sector that has a long history in our county and region,” said Probate Judge Rob Robertson, chairman of the Tuscaloosa County Commission. “The company specializes in developing healthy poultry options, which is an approach on trend with consumer demands.”
Fit Foodz has operations around the globe, including Japan, Guam and in Europe, and the new facility in Tuscaloosa will allow them to better serve its U.S. customers, officials with the woman-led company said.
Local and company officials said the creation of the new poultry processing operation is a good fit in Tuscaloosa, because it allows the company to pull from a deep and talented workforce, allowing for expansion capabilities.
“The deep pocket of talent, the colleges and university that adds so significantly to that, a tremendous living environment and the amazing people we’ve met there really made Tuscaloosa an ideal location for us,” said Lenna Castagna, president and founder of Fit Foodz. “It is a great location in a great community, and we will have plenty of room to expand.”
Reach Jason Morton at email@example.com.