The Waco City Council and the McLennan County Commissioners Court approved an $850,000 economic development grant Tuesday for Jessup Manufactured Housing LLC, a new business set to move into the former Patriot Homes building on West Loop 340.
The seven-month-old company will add $1.25 million worth of equipment to its facility and hire up to 200 full-time employees by 2020, with plans to hire 150 by the end of the year. The city and county will split the cost of the economic development grant.
“These are really skilled positions basically building homes,” said Kris Collins, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce. “We know that that’s an area where we have considerable depth of workforce. That makes this a really attractive place for Jessup to establish its presence.”
David Jessup had worked for Tennessee-based Clayton Homes, which still has plants in Waco, for 20 years and quit to start his own operation.
The company will build single-wide homes of less than 1,200 square feet for shipment to independent retailers in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arkansas and possibly Mississippi, Jessup said. The retail price will hover around $45,000 to $49,000.
“Our target market is first-time homebuyers who have grown tired of paying rent,” Jessup said.
He will need staffers with carpentry, plumbing and electrical skills. But a willingness to work is most important, and the company will provide training, he said.
He likes the Waco market because it is centrally located to communities the company will serve, and it is a semi-industrial town with a quality work force, Jessup said.
Brazos Iron Works recently leased part of the property Jessup is moving into. Brazos Iron Works manufactures oil and gas drilling equipment. The site was most recently the home of Foxworth-Galbraith, which sells building materials.
Josh Carter, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Commercial, helped broker the lease. An investment group owns the buildings Jessup is leasing, one at 80,000 square feet and the other at 16,000 square feet.
Jessup declined to comment on how much he will spend upgrading the facilities but said renovation has started.
“I think it’s very worthwhile as we bring jobs to Waco and help Waco thrive,” District 5 Councilman Jim Holmes said. “So I’m excited about these types of projects.”