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White Street Brewing Co. considers production expansion.
by Carrie C. Causey
LOUISBURG — Following closed session Monday, Franklin County commissioners scheduled public hearings regarding two business incentives, including one for a possible White Street Brewing Company production expansion.
Customers at the popular Wake Forest brewery shouldn’t be concerned their hangout is going anywhere.
“The need and the response have been so good and the demand so great, there is no way we can keep up at this facility,” said White Street Brewing Company owner Dino Radosta in a phone interview Tuesday.
Radosta is constrained by limited space in a downtown setting. He has no plans to move the facility, but rather expand production to an additional site.
“There are lots of potential plans, but no firm plans,” he said, adding that a site in Youngsville has been considered, among other locales.
The addition would only be used to produce beer; it would not be a full taproom. That being said, Radosta has brainstormed possibly having brewery tours that serve beer, but he doesn’t anticipate the facility being open to the public regularly.
In order to defray the cost of any facility upgrades or material costs, Radosta has been working with the Franklin County Economic Development Commission to take advantage of the county’s incentive plan.
Franklin County offers a grant up to 3 percent of the tax valuation of the investment in equipment, machinery, property and building if certain criteria are met. Among the items considered is the creation and retention of jobs by the incentive applicant.
Radosta estimates 40 jobs being added over a five-year time frame.
Economic Development Commissioner Director Ronnie Goswick said the incentive could be up to $48,000 for White Street Brewing Company.
Wherever they decide to expand, Radosta hopes they will be good corporate citizens and impact the community.
“It’s fun, exciting and scary,” he said of the possible changes in the future. “Nothing is final yet, the building has not been bought and nothing is in stone. The incentive showed up and we don’t know the rest of the puzzle. A lot of pieces have to come together.”
Anyone can weigh in on the incentive during the public hearing Aug. 5 at the beginning of the regularly scheduled commissioners’ meeting at 7 p.m.
Another public hearing is also scheduled for that evening regarding incentives for Xerium. The manufacturing company is planning to expand its corporate headquarters from Raleigh to Franklin County, bringing 36 jobs and creating a 10 percent workforce increase over the next three years, according to Goswick. The projected site is on U.S. 1 in Youngsville. A monetary incentive amount has not been decided.
Bids for jail repair
The bidding process is now open for an estimated $2 million worth of jail renovations to be started later this year.
Monday night, Franklin County commissioners approved architect Surapon Sujjavanich to start accepting bids for a lengthy list of repairs after watching an “enlightening” demonstration.
Sujjavanich displayed the difference between regular light bulbs, energy-efficient light bulbs and a newer type of technology offering a brighter light with a longer lifespan, though it’s more expensive.
Commissioners offered no opinion on his lighting choices, but did ask if the bids would include all of the 16 things he recommended needing repairs.
The board held a workshop at the Franklin County Detention Center last fall to see firsthand the improvements that need to be made to the facility.
On the list are getting a new roof to alleviate leaks, fixing cracks in the walls and floor, becoming more energy efficient and replacing security devices. Bathrooms need to have shower tiles replaced or painted so it isn’t a liability if inmates fall. The kitchen drainage is in need of immediate repair.
Another previously discussed addition is that of 10 medical isolation rooms with their own air systems.
As the original architect, Sujjavanich is very familiar with the inner workings of the building. He previously told commissioners if his advice is followed, the building should last another 20 years before another renovation is needed.
“We have got to protect what we’ve built,” he told commissioners Monday.
To fund the project, Finance Director Chuck Murray said debt service has already been included in this year’s fiscal budget. Later this year, the debt will be paid from the initial jail loan, he added.
The deadline for bids is Aug. 22.
As part of the contract, Sujjavanich also agreed to check out the courthouse roof for no additional cost.
The recent flood of rainstorms have pointed to obvious leaks in certain areas of the building, causing additional damage to the roof and walls.
Commissioners encouraged Sujjavanich to work with Franklin County inspections and the planning department to get a full assessment.