FOOD PROCESSING INDUSTRY REPORT
For Ruiz, Facility Drove Deal
Epstein found the perfect recipe for Ruiz in an unlikely place: the relatively small town of Denison (population 23,000) about an hour north of Dallas.
"Dallas was on the short list of the final four or five communities," Kupperman says, noting that the city of Durant and other spots in southern Oklahoma were considered. "We left it to Ruiz to determine where they would be comfortable."
Ruiz executives became very comfortable once a Dallas area broker found a suitable facility in Denison. Tony Kaai, head of economic development for Denison, credits a broker with CB Richard Ellis with identifying the available General Mills plant and bringing it to the attention of the site selection team.
"This facility was a closer match than any other facility they were looking at," Kaai says.
"I received a call from the broker at 7 o'clock at night asking, 'Can we get into the building?'" Kaai says. "They toured it and immediately were interested."
Kaai noted that it was "fairly unique" that the entire site selection process happened so fast. "Typically, this would be a two-year process."
Bryce Ruiz was impressed with the Denison facility the first time he saw it. "The Denison building was a very nice fit," he says. "The community seemed to have values that are very consistent with the way Ruiz operates. Having a good community partner was probably the final factor, in combination with having the right building."
Once the site was identified, the negotiations had to be completely successfully. Again, that assignment fell to Patelski, Kupperman and the rest of their project team at Epstein.
"The reason Denison ultimately won out was, number one, the level of acceptance and sponsorship that the community offered," says Kupperman. "This was a community that, frankly, needed the jobs and was willing to be aggressive in offering the incentives to land the project. The reception we received in Denison far exceeded anything else."
The incentive package, according to Kaai, included tax abatements from four local taxing authorities, including 100 percent tax abatement from Grayson County College, Grayson County and the City of Denison. The state Texas Enterprise Fund offered Ruiz $1.5 million if the company meets certain performance requirements.
A Texas Enterprise Zone sales tax abatement on labor, materials and equipment has been offered to the firm. Another local incentive of $3,000 for each new job created, for a total amount not to exceed $1.27 million, will be paid out over a 5-year period from city funds. Finally, Ruiz benefits from a Freeport Exemption, which all local taxing authorities approved more than a year ago.
Kupperman credits Kaai with putting such a comprehensive incentive package together so quickly. Kupperman says the local support made it possible for Epstein and Ruiz to complete their due diligence within 30 days.
"From the time we reached a business agreement with General Mills to closing was just 60 days," Kupperman added.Bryce Ruiz is now so happy with the site selection and ensuing work on the plant in Denison that he is already talking about the prospect of future expansions.
When asked whether he anticipated expanding again, he said, "I do. We are going to start that process. We know the scope of what we're doing in Denison. And in the next 18 to 24 months, we know we're going to have to start this process again."
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