MAXTON — The owner of the site of the former Sara Lee distribution facility on U.S. 74 near Maxton told town commissioners on Tuesday that he wants to develop the property into a food distribution and research facility.
Robert A. Polite, principal in BP Associates Inc., of Alexandria, Va., said that he plans to construct over the next 24 months a $10 million, two-story facility that would provide about 40,000 square feet of warehouse storage space and a second floor that could provide office and research space for such entities as the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He envisions the property as housing a greenhouse and other facilities serving as a “laboratory” for researchers and farmers; having ice-making and-ice storage capabilities; and being a potential storage facility for Meals Ready to Eat and other essentials needed by the military and agencies providing emergency management services.
“The uses would be diversified,” he said.
According to Polite, he also envisions his project creating 200 jobs or more during the next five years. Maxton residents, he said, would get priority to fill these positions.
After Polite’s presentation, Commissioner Emmett “Chip” Morton made a motion that the town endorse the “concept” of what was being proposed as a partnership between the developer and the town, but that no town resources be committed to the project. Morton’s motion also specified that the developer make no commitment to any specific program or grant application without first getting the approval of the town board.
The motion passed the five-member board unanimously.
In other business, the commissioners Tuesday:
— Approved the site plan for a proposed McDonalds to be built at the intersection of North Patterson and Rockingham roads. Other approvals at the county and state levels must be obtained before actual construction can begin, Mayor Sallie McLean said after the meeting.
— Accepted the override bid of $7,500 from Willie Hunt for the purchase of the old Police Department building on McCaskill Avenue. The bid was accepted under the condition that no higher bid is received.