Arkansas-based Zero Mountain Inc. will receive $550,000 in local government incentives to build a $33 million cold-storage facility serving customers such as Cargill, Tyson Foods and Walmart.

McLennan County commissioners and the Waco City Council signed off Tuesday on the grant funds from the Waco-McLennan County Economic Development Corp.

The company, which specializes in cold and dry storage, is planning a 219,937-square-foot complex at 1619 Exchange Parkway near Loop 340. The plant would be connected to the Union Pacific tracks with a new rail spur.

Real property improvements would total $24.5 million, while the value of personal property and equipment is valued at $8.5 million, according to information provided to the Waco City Council.

Zero Mountain would hire at least 45 people to staff the warehouse, which would become fully operational during the fourth quarter of next year, according to the information. Staffers would make at least $15 an hour, and would receive benefits comparable to those collected by city of Waco and McLennan County employees, the city staff reports.

Such conditions are typical for industries that receive the city-county incentives.

Long-term recruitment

Kris Collins, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, said she and other local industry recruiters have been working on this prospect since 2014.

“This is a product that is not available in our market now,” Collins said.

She has said recently that warehousing space has become a priority in Greater Waco, with demand outstripping supply.

Debbie Kraus, a Zero Mountain spokeswoman, said the Waco facility will be the company’s first warehouse outside Arkansas.

The company’s website said Zero Mountain Inc. and Zero Mountain Logistics are headed by president and chief executive officer Joseph F. Rumsey V, a descendant of Joseph Rumsey III, who along with three other businessmen worked four years to transform a limestone cave in Johnson, Arkansas, into a sub-zero processing and storage vault. It opened in 1955, “becoming one of only four facilities of this type in the country,” according to the website.

Today, Zero Mountain ships more than 2.5 billion pounds of food annually, and serves the cold-storage warehousing needs of Tyson Foods, ConAgra Foods, Cargill, Butterball and Walmart, according to city-provided information.

It operates 9.8 million cubic feet of freezer/cooler warehouse space.

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