County offering incentives for new manufacturing plant

COLUMBUS — Lowndes County will apply for $6.6 million in grants and loans to support the location a facility for a building material manufacturer.

Golden Triangle Development Link CEO Joe Max Higgins said CalStar Products would create at least 58 jobs and possibly up to 100 within the next three years. CalStar opened a plant in Caledonia, Wis., in 2010.

The Commercial Dispatch reports the county will apply for a 20-year, $5.35 million loan through the Mississippi Development Authority. It will use $2.85 million to buy the property for CalStar and use the remainder to help with construction of the facility. CalStar must provide a letter of commitment by June 7 from lenders for $5 million to complete the project.
The county will also apply for $1.25 million in Community Development Block Grant funding for additional property improvements.

Higgins said once the facility is complete, the county would lease it to CalStar and have the option to transfer it to the Lowndes County Industrial Development Authority.
Higgins said as part of the agreement, CalStar would maintain the jobs they create and failure to do so would result in financial penalties.

“Several months ago CalStar came in and started looking into doing their Southeast search of locations for their second facility,” Higgins said. “We fully expect this project to create 100 jobs when it’s completed, but for CDBG purposes, (58) is the number that’s required to guarantee the grant we’re requesting.”

Higgins said industrial developer Agracel, which the Link partnered with to build a facility in Golden Triangle Industrial Park, has agreed to sell the 23.4-acre site to CalStar for $2.85 million. Earnest money totaling $150,000 has been transferred for CalStar to keep Agracel from leasing the property to another prospect.

Higgins said CalStar’s exterior masonry products include pavers and bricks used for facades, streetscapes and parking lots.

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