Port storage facility gets green light

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A new cold storage facility that could bring 100 new jobs will soon be added to the Port of Wilmington’s industrial footprint by 2014.

The N.C. Port Authority’s board of directors Thursday morning at its Wilmington headquarters approved the project dubbed Project Penguin during a teleconference meeting.

Project Penguin was initially on the board’s January agenda but was continued to iron out details related to the 40-year lease.   

The $15 million development is being financed by Wilmington-based USA InvestCo, an investment firm that raises capital from international interest for U.S. projects using the Employment Based Program No. 5, where for a minimum of $500,000 invested, out-of-the-country investors are granted green cards to move their families to the U.S.

Laura Blair, senior director external affairs for the Ports Authority, said the lease document for the project could be finalized by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and the N.C. Department of Commerce by as early as next week.

While port officials have been mute about the project’s details, state agriculture commissioner Steve Troxler discussed the project during a meeting last year with the Crop Protection Association of North Carolina, an Apex-based advocacy group, according to a video of his talk.

During the talk, Troxler pointed out details related to the project, which looks to ship frozen poultry and meat products from North Carolina farms to China and beyond.

Chuck Schoninger, president and CEO of USA InvestCo, recently confirmed details related to the project, saying that the facility would be a new 75,000-square-foot building near the T7 unit at the port.

Schoninger said he was seeking state incentives.

If those incentives and the lease agreement were approved, construction on the new facility could begin within the next three months.

Source: http://www.wilmingtonbiz.com/industry_news_details.php?id=4887