Asheville Council considers incentive deals with White Labs, Highland Brewing, Tutco Farnam

White Labs hopes to transform 172 S. Charlotte St. from a 26,000 square foot storage facility into a 32,000 square foot production facility, complete with a tasting room and classroom. The company is requesting city incentives to make it happen. Rendering courtesy of White Labs.

At their next meeting on Jan. 27, Asheville City Council members will consider economic incentive deals with White Labs, Highland Brewing and Tutco Farnam. Before voting, Council will hold public hearings to solicit feedback.

Here are details on each proposed deal:

White Labs

A leader in the fermentation sciences industry, White Labs specializes in creating yeasts for beer and wine. The city of Asheville is proposing to lease its 26,000-square-foot building at 172 S. Charlotte St. to the company at a subsidized cost of $1 per year for up to five years. In that time, the company would also be given the option of buying the property for about $1.6 million, which is about 80 percent of market value, according to a city report. If the company opts not to purchase the building, the city will give it the option of leasing it for another five years at a “fair market value rental rate.”

The city would also give White Labs the exclusive right to purchase 1.67 acres of surrounding property at the site for 80 percent of market value.

In exchange for these incentives, the company would be required to invest $8.1 million over the next five years and create 65 new jobs. The positions would pay an average annual wage of $35,818.

Highland Brewing

Asheville’s first brewery since Prohibition, Highland Brewing opened 20 years ago and is one of the city’s largest beer makers. The company is requesting  an incentive grant of $60,000.

In exchange, the company would invest $3.8 million into its brewing facility, entertainment venue and taproom at 12 Charlotte Highway. Highland would also agree to hire 15 new workers over the next three years, paying an average annual wage of $42,016.

Tutco Farnam

An industrial heater manufacturer, Tutco Farnam is requesting a $30,380 grant from the city. In exchange, the company would agree to invest $2.5 million into its Arden facility at 30 Legend Drive Lane, creating 50 new jobs over the next three years. However, there’s no stipulation about what the jobs would pay. Instead, the city report notes that the company “offers comprehensive benefits to employees.”

The Tuesday, Jan. 27, Asheville City Council meeting will begin at 5 p.m. in room 209 of City Hall. The full agenda will be available a few days earlier.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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