Lawrence City Commission approves incentives for pretzel facility that will add nearly 300 jobs
photo by: City of Lawrence
City leaders have approved tax breaks and other economic incentives for a project that will bring a pretzel production facility and close to 300 jobs to Lawrence.
As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission voted unanimously to approve an approximately $4.4 million economic incentives package for VanTrust Real Estate for an approximately 150,000-square-foot production facility for Indiana-based Pretzels Inc., which is expanding its operations to Lawrence.
The commission expressed excitement about the production center, which will locate in VenturePark, a city business park that has struggled to attract businesses. The project applied for incentives under the Catalyst Program, a fast-track incentives program the commission created to kick-start business at the park.
“It’s nice to see a boulder that we started rolling actually have momentum, so I’m very excited about it,” Mayor Jennifer Ananda said.
VanTrust estimates the project will support 281 jobs in its first four years of operation, with an average annual salary of $42,800, according to City of Lawrence Economic Development Coordinator Britt Crum-Cano.
The pretzel production facility is the second phase of an existing VanTrust project at VenturePark. As part of this phase, VanTrust requested a property tax abatement, sales tax exemption and free land, according to a city staff memo to the commission. Crum-Cano said the total estimated value of the incentives for all taxing jurisdictions is $4.39 million. Going forward, VanTrust will be responsible for paying the special assessments on the property, which are $687,661 for a 20-year period.
VanTrust anticipates breaking ground on the project this year and estimates that the production facility will be operational in fall of 2021.