Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

VPA Plans to Buy CSX Land for Food Plant

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

VPA Plans to Buy CSX Land for Food Plant

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Brune Mathis, Times-Union senior business writer

VPA Cold Storage President Jeffrey Perazzo confirmed yesterday that the company intends to buy North Jacksonville property from CSX Transportation Inc. and it wants to start construction in October on a $10.9 million food import-export operation.

He said construction should be completed by October 2004.

The Jacksonville Economic Development Commission approved a request yesterday for $700,000 in tax refunds and a grant program to help VPA set up the operation on 55 acres along New Berlin Road. The deal still needs City Council approval.

VPA pledges to create 60 jobs within three years of completing the project at an annual average salary of $39,000. Perazzo said employment could reach 150 within 10 years.

Perazzo is president of VPA and vice president of V. Paulius & Associates, which is the construction company that will build the operation. The incentive package was negotiated with V. Paulius, which is based in New Jersey.

"We're going to start aggressively," Perazzo said.

Perazzo said the 264,000-square-foot plant can be expanded as demand dictates. VPA is negotiating to buy 55 acres from CSX along Alta Road. It would pay $700,000 for the land and spend $7.35 million for construction, $150,000 for off-site utilities and $2.7 million for equipment.

The incentives comprise $180,000 in Qualified Target Industry tax refund credits, of which the state pays $144,000 and the city pays $36,000, and a grant of up to $520,000 that would be paid annually over 10 years based on the increase in property taxes the project generates.

VPA Cold Storage, a subsidiary of V. Paulius, imports fish, cheese and other food products and exports poultry products through the port of New Orleans to its facility in Lithuania, which serves the Baltic States. …

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