Distribution center

A rendering of the new distribution center in New Brockton.

NEW BROCKTON -- The Coffee County Commission has approved incentives for the Ben E. Keith distribution center.

The incentives include additional land for expansion should the company meet certain benchmarks as well as sales and non-educational property tax abatements.

Last month, Ben E. Keith announced a $100 million foodservice distribution center to be located in New Brockton. The center is expected to employ 80 over the next five years. Although many of the incentives had been discussed, some had not been formally approved at the time of the announcement.

Coffee County Administrator Rod Morgan addressed the commission this week to request amendments to an existing project agreement with Ben E. Keith, which was formed before the official announcement last month.

“As we’ve discussed, the existing project agreement with Ben E. Keith, formerly known as Project X, needs to be amended with the acquisition of the additional property on (County Road) 516,” Morgan said. “We need to amend that project agreement to allow for access off 516. Also, provided Ben E. Keith meets certain requirements, there will be a donation of land to Ben E. Keith. The donation of land will be funded by Covington Electric Cooperative. If Ben E. Keith does not meet those requirements, they would fund the acquisition of that portion of property that they use.”

After the commission voted to approve a resolution authorizing the updated project agreement, Morgan proposed another resolution regarding abatements for Ben E. Keith.

“The project agreement also calls for certain abatements for Ben E. Keith; those abatements are 100 percent of the sales and use taxes for the construction period and 50 percent of the ad valorem taxes -- abatable non-educational ad valorem taxes for 20 years,” Morgan said.

Ben E. Keith acquired Kelley Foods in 2016. The distribution center will be 425,000 square feet and can expand up to 1 million square feet. Construction is expected to begin in December of this year and be finished in December of 2021.

Ben E. Keith Foods is the nation’s eighth largest broad line foodservice distributor and operates with eight divisions shipping to 15 states.

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