Commission approves incentives for biotech company’s expansion

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Commission has approved nearly $29,000 in incentives for a biotechnology company planning to expand its Alabaster facility.

At its Feb. 22 meeting, the Commission approved for the county to provide $29,320 for Avanti Polar Lipids LLC to renovate, refurbish and equip its local manufacturing facility and increase its number of full-time employees.

“They have a 25-acre campus in Alabaster,” 58 INC. Managing Director Amy Sturdivant said of the company. “They will be making a $16 million investment on the campus to expand it.”

According to the resolution, the company will invest about $16.4 million in the expansion project, which will create about 67 new full-time job positions to increase the total employment at the facility to about 240 full-time employees with an estimated average annual compensation (excluding benefits) of about $39,000 per full-time employee.

The resolution specifies the county’s funds are payable in three annual installments of up to 1 percent of net new payroll per annum not to exceed $29,320.

“The county has determined that the development of the project will further the county’s economic development goals in accordance with Amendment No. 772 and, accordingly, constitutes a public purpose for which financial assistance from the county is appropriate,” the resolution reads.

Earlier this month, the board of directors for 58 INC. reviewed and recommended the project to the Commission for its consideration and potential approval.

County Manager Chad Scroggins said examples of other companies that have received incentives under the same amendment are Therachem MediLab in Chelsea and McLeod Software on U.S. 280.

In other business, the Commission also approved resolutions for the Shelby County Park and Recreation Grant Program Fiscal Year 21 funding cycle and the Recreational Trails Program grant application.

The county’s FY21 financial awards will include $100,000 for Oak Mountain Elementary School and $48,250 for the city of Vincent.

Regarding the RTP resolution, Shelby County proposes to provide recreational trails in the Cahaba River Park and Forever Wild Land Trust along the Cahaba River with plans to apply to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for grant assistance to construct about 9.5 miles of trails.

The grant program is limited to funding 80 percent of the proposed project, and the total proposed project is estimated at $280,920, according to the resolution.

As such, the county will exceed the 20-percent minimum local match to be more competitive in the grant selection process by committing 33 percent of the total direct funds from the county’s lodging tax revenues and in-kind labor services from county resources and the project partners to complete the project.