Douglas County Development Inc. has issued a Friday deadline for Galt Plastics, of Glenville, Ill., to decide whether it will buy DCDI's shell building in the East Hills Business Park.
"We have requested that they execute a contract to buy the building and provide us with earnest money by Friday," said Bill Martin, economic development director for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, who is marketing the building for DCDI.
"The idea is they are supposedly on this fast track and need to be in a building by late July or early August, yet they have stalled on this contract," Martin said today. "It's time to fish or cut bait."
Galt has still not decided between Lawrence and at least two other cities for the site of its new plant, which would manufacture plastic plates for the frozen food industry.
IF THE plastics firm wants to move to the 81,000-square-foot shell building by August, it will need to decide quickly so work can begin to finish the structure, Martin said.
Dick Fackler, chief executive officer of the firm, was not available for comment this morning.
"They're still negotiating in at least two other cities," Martin said. "But they need to make a decision if they plan to be anywhere in July. That's coming up pretty darn quick. . . . Whether it's Lawrence or some other community, they've got to do something, they're under the gun."
He said DCDI is requesting $50,000 in earnest money.
Martin said he, Douglas County Commissioner Mark Buhler and John Elmore, president of First National Bank of Lawrence, traveled to the company's headquarters Thursday to inquire about Galt's plans.
"What they indicated last week was that they would prefer to lease the building, but they refused to give any corporate guarantees on a lease," Martin said.
DCDI WOULD consider leasing the building, if the company guaranteed it would stay there for at least 10 years, Martin said.
He said the finishing work on the building would cost about $900,000. That work would include putting in a floor, installing heating, water and sprinkler systems, and constructing office space, paved parking and loading docks, Martin said.
Martin said he could not reveal the names of the two other cities offering sites to Galt. However, he said one of them is about the same size as Lawrence and has a college.
Lawrence's city commission has approved a 10-year, 50 percent tax abatement to the company, worth about $787,595.
But one of the other cities has offered "four times what we're offering," Martin said.
THE OTHER site also is in a state with lower taxes than Kansas, he said. And the other site offers free rail access, while the company would have to put up $120,000 for a rail spur at the East Hills park.
Also, the competing site's building is $600,000 cheaper because of its construction costs and electric rates are lower, Martin said. The East Hills shell building's price tag is $1,505,000.
Meanwhile, Martin said DCDI is still marketing the building, as it did during the unsuccessful courtship of Penn Plastics, Creighton, Pa., in late 1989.
Martin said some other firms also are interested in the shell building.
He said recent prospects included a company located in the Boston area. However, no other company has gone as far in the process as Galt, Martin said.
"I wouldn't say companies are waiting in line to come to Lawrence, but there are at least two other companies that are interested in that building," he said.