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Spec. building close to having local tenant

A local industry will expand into the long-troubled IndustrialPark speculative building should the city approve the move attonight’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen.

On Monday, Lincoln County supervisors voted unanimously to allowSola Fide, Inc., a trucking distribution company, to expand itsoperations into the facility on a lease-purchase agreement of$3,000 per month. A $50,000 buy out would occur in 10 years.

“This would cover all the money the city and county haveinvested in the building,” said Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop.”We’re glad to place a local business owner in it who will createsome jobs.”

The city must also approve the move before the company can beginalterations to the facility.

“The city aldermen’s approval is just as important as thecounty’s as part-owner of the building,” said Cliff Brumfield,Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce executive director.”I will be taking it to them for approval tonight.”

It will take some time for the company to actually occupy thebuilding and begin operations there, he said.

“The occupying industry will have to make a considerableinvestment on their own to complete the building to meet theirneeds,” Brumfield said. “In addition to their investment, there area number of grants that could be applied for to assist them.”

Sola Fide had been waiting for some environmental issues on theproperty to be cleared for quite some time, Brumfield said. Thecompany created a number of jobs a few years ago to help secure agrant through the city for the speculative building, but theexpansion never occurred because the chemical dioxin was found inthe soil of the property.

“It’s been difficult to move because of the (EnvironmentalProtection Agency) restrictions,” Bishop said. “Those have now beenlifted.”

A few years ago, following the closure of the nearby Escambiawood treatment facility, dioxins were found in the soil of the siteand “rendered the (speculative) building all but unmarketablebecause of the cost of the cleanup,” Brumfield said.

Dioxins form a family of toxic chlorinated organic that canaccumulate in humans and wildlife. Excessive exposure to dioxinscan be lethal or may cause a severe form of persistent acne, knownas chloracne.

It appears now, he said, that most of the contamination islimited to the northwestern corner of the site in an area that isnot visible from the road or the speculative building on thegrounds of the former treatment facility.

The report indicates that contamination in other areas wasairborne and has disappeared over time, Brumfield said.

Sola Fide has retained the employees obtained in preparation forthe grant through the years and is prepared to move into thespeculative building as soon as the improvements are completed. Inaddition, Brumfield said, “they do plan to hire more as they growinto the building.”

The company intends to continue operations at its currentlocation in the old Stahl-Urban building after the expansion, hesaid.

“The speculative building will become their administrativeoffices and also serve as warehouse distribution for the customersthey serve,” Brumfield said. “The current location will also beused for warehouse distribution.”