MUNSTER | Carl Buddig & Co. is relocating its warehousing and distribution center for its finished lunch meat products from its South Holland processing plant to space recently vacated by Dawn Foods on West 45th Street.
The Munster Town Council approved a preliminary seven-year tax abatement on Monday for the company that is headquartered in Homewood. A public hearing on the tax abatement will be held at the next Town Council meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 25.
The private, family-owned company is the fifth largest selling brand of sliced lunch meats in the U.S. and the largest sliced meat operation in Illinois, said Clay Johnson, assistant Munster town manager.
“Their products, including Old Wisconsin Sausage, are distributed to major grocery chains throughout the United States,” Johnson said.
Last week Buddig officials signed a seven-year lease with the warehouse owners, Becknell Properties, said Dan Wynn, CEO, during Monday’s meeting. Robert Buddig, one of the owners, also appeared before the council to answer questions.
The lease has two options to renew for five years.
“We have grown. We either need to build or separate our operation. We need to create space in our (processing) plant,” Wynn said. “This will allow us to expand within our plant to add new production lines.”
The move to 215 W. 45th St. will put Carl Buddig & Co. within the Munster Economic Revitalization Zone. Businesses in this area can be granted tax abatements for improvements made to the spaces occupied.
Buddig will begin making $2.2 million in improvements to the warehouse space, adding refrigeration, insulated panels, racks, dock upgrades and warehousing IT systems, Wynn said.
In March, the company will transfer more than 45 employees from its Illinois facility to the new Munster site and launch the warehousing and distribution operations.
“The 2015 to 2017 plan is to increase employment by approximately 10 percent per year,” said Wynn, a 25-year Munster resident.
One percent of the tax abatement’s value will be donated by Carl Buddig & Co. to the Munster Civic Foundation for public art.
“There’s (a statue) of a baker there right now. We were thinking of making it a butcher,” Wynn quipped to the amusement of the council and audience. “We could put a meat cleaver in his hand and hang sausages around his neck.”