CROSSVILLE – A poultry breeder with Huntsville, Ala., ties wants to build a new $2 million lab in Crossville – and it wants the city to donate the land for that facility free of charge.
Aviagen, the world’s leading poultry breeding company with customers in more than 130 countries, is looking to expand its presence in Cumberland County by constructing a new veterinary lab. In a letter to the city, company officials say the lab would be approximately 14,800 square feet in size and would cost $2.2 million to construct and equip.
The company, in its formal request, wants the land for that lab free of charge. After seeing “several sites,” the company has narrowed its focus to Duer Court off Industrial Boulevard. The property, approximately 3.6 acres, is located 1.3 miles from Interstate 40.
City officials discussed the request during a work session Thursday evening. Some members requested an appraisal of the Duer Court property; all councilmen agreed to place it on the official agenda for next week’s meeting, scheduled for July 9, for further discussion.
Aviagen has had a presence in Crossville since the early 1990s – it was known as Ross Breeders until 2000 – and is currently spread between three buildings, including 3002 Northside Drive.
During the work session Thursday, Carolyn Miller, a veterinarian at Aviagen, says their current facility in Cumberland County, which is leased, is “seriously undersized and doesn’t allow us to do the testing we want,” she said. A new lab will allow for continued growth and expansion.
Aviagen, which is headquartered in Huntsville, Ala., has grown by 21.6 percent in Crossville over the past four years, company officials say, and its local labor pool represents nearly 10 percent of Aviagen’s global workforce – the company expects to employ 343 by fiscal year 2016. Total wages, salaries and benefits to those employees during the 2016 fiscal year is a budgeted $15 million.