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Hobart industrial project delayed by coronavirus

Hobart industrial project delayed by coronavirus

Hobart City Hall

HOBART — A project to build a new industrial facility on 69th Avenue has been delayed, and it appears COVID-19 played a role in it.

Becknell Industrial has plans to construct a 617,000-square-foot building on 69th east of Mississippi Street, and AMI LLC is the proposed tenant.

Paul Thurston, of Becknell Industrial, said Becknell signed a deal with AMI before the coronavirus crisis.

Officials at one time hoped construction would have started by April 1, but the project hasn’t advanced as expected.

Real estate and personal property tax abatement had been sought for the project, and the City Council in March granted initial approval of those requests.

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The panel had been scheduled to have public hearings and take final action on the abatement last month, but COVID-19 caused City Hall to be closed to the public and canceled many Hobart meetings.

Becknell and AMI has since withdrawn resolutions associated with those requests.

“We're still in talks with the user and hope to get back on track,” Thurston said.

Although the tax abatement requests have been withdrawn, Becknell has received city approval for a site plan, a one-lot subdivision and a planned unit development request for the project.

Thurston has told city officials there will be about $33 million in hard costs associated with the creation of the new building, and it’s expected to create 165 construction jobs.

About $12 million in equipment would be installed at site, according to documents for the personal property tax abatement request. That includes manufacturing, logistics, distribution, IT and research and development equipment.

There could be more than 160 jobs in the building when the site becomes operational, according to the documents.

In city meetings earlier this year, some residents who live near the project site questioned how it would affect them, and they expressed concerns regarding the light and noise the project could create.

Thurston said Becknell has been cognizant of residents when planning the development, and the company has budgeted for more than $250,000 in landscaping. A berm and screening also is included in plans.

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