City transfers facility to IDB
The City of Greenville has taken another step toward filling the vacant WestPoint Home facility.
The Greenville City Council voted unanimously to transfer the property to the Industrial Development Board of the City of Greenville.
“This is the first step toward putting someone in that building,” Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said.
McLendon said he couldn’t say more than that at this point because of a confidentiality agreement he has signed with a company.
The city purchased the 300,000 square-foot building for $750,000, with the Butler County Commission contributing $50,000, in February.
At the time of the purchase, McLendon said the city bought the building in an effort to spur job creation in Greenville. He hinted that there might be a potential business already interested in locating in the building.
“I’m not saying that we have a business lined up yet, but I don’t think this is a gamble,” he said. “I’m not a gambler. I believe this is a good investment for our community.”
McLendon said a major benefit to the city owning the building is that it eliminates a third party during negotiations with potential businesses in the future.
“When you have two people involved it’s a lot easier to make a deal than when you have three,” he said. “This way the building is ours and we can negotiate with potential businesses, and I think that’s a major benefit when you start talking about attracting industry to the area.”
David Hutchison, the executive director of the Butler County Commission for Economic Development, said having a move-in-ready, 300,000 square-foot building is a tremendous benefit when recruiting businesses.
“Most businesses start out looking for a building,” he said. “In order to attract businesses that are looking for a place to locate, we needed to have an available building like this.”
WestPoint Home occupied the building for 12 years before it closed its manufacturing plant in Greenville in 2011 and moved its plant operations to Chipley, Fla. At the time of its closing the plant employed 120 full-time employees and 60 temporary workers.
The building was formerly home to Rheem Manufacturing. Rheem Manufacturing shuttered the doors to its Greenville plant in 1999.