Paducah Economic Development officials have paid about $70,000 to Infiniti Plastics Technology to end the California-based company's involvement with the manufacturing plant inside the I-24 Park at 5400 Commerce Drive. The payment clears the way to attract a new industrial business.
According to Chad Chancellor, Paducah Economic Development president, the payment was to purchase equipment the company still had on the premises when it closed last August.
The company, which manufactured plastic packaging for compact discs and DVDs, left having failed to produce the 100-plus jobs it had promised as part of the agreement that brought it to Paducah. The payment effectively terminates Infiniti's lease, Chancellor said.
"I wanted to maintain the equipment," he said. "I felt like if they took all of the equipment out, it would leave us with nothing but a warehouse."
The equipment is the type most any manufacturer could use, Chancellor said. The $70,000 figure was arrived at following an engineer's inspection. "It (the equipment) probably cost a half-a-million dollars brand new," he said.
According to Chancellor, having the equipment in place is a tremendous competitive advantage in economic development. He said in the past few months he has shown the property to 10-15 prospects, all of whom have asked whether the equipment was going to be left on the premises.
He would not identify any of the prospects, saying only there are "multiple parties that are very interested."
The 100,000 square-foot plant is co-owned by the city of Paducah and McCracken County. The building was constructed in 2004 for approximately $5 million, Chancellor said. Infiniti began making monthly lease payments of $33,800 in 2007. The company continued making lease payments for approximately six months after leaving, he said.
The payment to Infiniti comes from a private deal-closing fund PED maintains, Chancellor said. It is separate from the organization's general fund, which includes $250,000 each from the city and county annually, and approximately $600,000 in capital development donations from the public.
In addition to solicitations for the general fund, PED also accepts donations specifically for the private fund, Chancellor said. Such a fund is common for economic development agencies, he added.
"Some people want to donate to a private entity," he said. "Some people give a lot, some people give $50. It pays for things that you wouldn't want the government to pay for, like moving equipment."
The private fund has had as much as $1 million in it at one time. The current figure is approximately $400,000-$500,000, he said.
Chancellor is confident the goal of attracting a prospect that will bring at least 100 manufacturing jobs is within reach.
"The No. 1 priority is to put jobs in there," Chancellor said of the building. "That's what it was built for."
Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.