After two tries, company gets preliminary approval for tax break

A company whose tax break request for an industrial building in Greenwood has been rejected twice already is nearing approval on a third attempt.

Becknell Industrial is requesting a 10-year, $1.4 million tax break for an $8.7 million, 140,000-square-foot building that would be built with just the exterior walls and roof and not finished inside, since no tenants have been identified yet.

The building, planned for the Southtech Business Park, initially was intended for Monsanto, a St. Louis-based international agriculture company that designs and develops seeds and herbicides.

After public opposition to Monsanto, which also requested a tax break on equipment for the facility, Greenwood withdrew its tax break offer and Becknell resubmitted its request, listing its project as a shell building without any projections on the number or types of jobs the project would create.

But last month, the Greenwood City Council rejected the Becknell tax break in a 5-4 vote, with members citing concerns about what company would move in, how many jobs it would create and how much those jobs would pay. Council members wanted specific details about the quality of the jobs and wanted assurances that Monsanto wasn’t still in the running to be a tenant.

With Becknell’s third request for a tax break, the company agreed to create at least 15 jobs at $17.50 an hour and put in place a provision that would prevent Monsanto from bringing its previously planned seed distribution and storage facility to the site.

Providing the projected job details, even though a tenant hasn’t been determined for the building, does allow the council to hold Becknell accountable for recruiting tenants that will meet those requirements, council president Mike Campbell said.

“The size of the building doesn’t lend to distribution,” he said. “We’re hoping it will be light manufacturing and other higher-paying jobs.”

The city council voted 9-0 to give its first approval for the tax break. The council will need to vote once more to gives its final approval.

Author photo
Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.