12/8/2010 - Ingles to add grocery distribution center, 160 jobs in Asheville area
by Joel Burgess
Ingles to add grocery distribution center, 160 jobs in Asheville area
BLACK MOUNTAIN -- Buncombe County is on track to be the home of a major grocery distribution center following a Tuesday vote by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.
Commissioners voted unanimously to support Ingles Markets Inc. in obtaining $100 million in low-interest federal Recovery Zone Facility Bonds.
Ingles wants to use the bonds to build an 830,000-square-foot cold storage distribution center at the company's Black Mountain corporate office off U.S. 70.
"The project will in essence double the size of the current distribution facility," said Ron Freeman, Ingles chief financial officer.
The facility will employ an additional 160 people and, if approved, should be done by the end of 2012. The existing warehouse employs 750 people.
Ingles now uses a company from outside the county to do its distribution, so moving that process in-house will not cost local jobs, the CFO said.
Final hurdles include approval by top state officials.
The tax-free bonds were part of the federal stimulus and must be paid back by Ingles.
Commissioners praised Ingles for making the investment and asked that local contractors be given priority in choosing who will do the construction -- something Freeman said the company would do.
Ingles worked on the deal with local officials, such as the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County.
County Commissioner K. Ray Bailey, who is also the EDC chairman, called the center a "landmark investment in the future of our region and the livelihood of our citizens."