LIVINGSTON – Two companies are making big waves in an Overton County industrial park.
Lettuce grower Tanimura & Antle is in the midst of an expansion, and Byrdstown-based Fitzgerald Glider Kits recently completed its purchase of a spec building built there in 2012. There’s no word on exactly how many jobs that might mean for the Upper Cumberland, but it sure makes the industrial park, located off Highway 111 in Rickman, a much busier place.
Tanimura & Antle has started a phase two expansion of its facility. The California-based company grows “living lettuce” hydroponically – in water, without soil – in its many greenhouses. The method is more sustainable, allows for consistent production year around and reduces the use of pesticides.
Since it located in Livingston five years ago, Tanimura had always considered the possibility of expanding – the company purchased enough land for three more phases, in fact, 140 acres. But the economy played a significant role in that delay.
As for Fitzgerald, there was no word on what exactly the company had planned for the Livingston location – messages left by the UCBJ went unreturned – but the spec building itself, which features a gravel floor, 50-foot pillar spacing, and 30-foot ceilings, had generated a good deal of interest, said Greg McDonald, director of the Overton County Chamber of Commerce. This posed the best opportunity, he said.
Fitzgerald purchased the 50,150-square-foot building and 8.18 acres for $1 million. The deal also included the purchase of an additional 26.74 acres of land for $267,400.
“We’ve had a lot of RFI’s (requests for information) on the spec building, but as you know, we’re competing with a lot of other communities, not only within the state but the Southeast,” McDonald told the UCBJ. “We had a lot of interest but were never able to hit the home run. When (the Fitzgeralds) approached us, they felt that it fit into their business model.
“They have laid cement throughout the building and are going to add another 35,000 square feet,” he added.
Meanwhile, with the sale, Overton County will have to repay a portion of the Economic Development Administration grant used to build the spec building. At last report, that cost was an estimated $842,721.