The local agency tasked with recruiting and bolstering industrial activity in the Golden Isles on Monday approved two economic incentives aimed at creating local jobs.
The Brunswick-Glynn County Development Authority approved a loan not to exceed $150,000 for the owner of a former call center to repair part of the building’s roof and its air conditioning system. Authority members also approved a $30,000 grant for a different building owner to install plumbing equipment in hopes of luring a worm and fertilizer producer.
The call center building at 3003 Scarlett St. in Brunswick, is currently vacant, and officials hope by making the repairs to the roof and air conditioning, they can attract a new call center to rent the space. It is owned by 3003 Scarlett LLC, a company registered to I-95 Toyota owner Travis Ostrom.
John Scott, the economic development authority’s project manager, said Ostrom is interested in renting the building, but the repairs it needs are costly. Scott said Ostrom has other investment opportunities and formerly chose to fund other projects more likely to have higher return. By making the loan of $150,000 at an interest rate of 4.25 percent over 10 years, Scott said Ostrom is more likely to see a positive return on investment.
It is unclear if Ostrom will accept the loan. He did not respond to request for comment by press time Tuesday. If Ostrom does accept the loan, he must begin work within 6 months. The building must be used as a call center, and is collateral for the loan, among other conditions. The building is about 76,000 square feet, although the loan would pay for only about 25,000 square feet of repairs.
In a second project, the economic development authority approved a $30,000 for the owner of an industrial building at 1601 Second St. in Brunswick to install two backflow preventers required by the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission. A prospective worm farm and fertilizer manufacturer is considering leasing 11,000 of the building’s 73,000 square feet for industrial operations.
The building is particularly suitable for worm farming — also called vermiculture — because of its low ceilings. Worms require specifically controlled temperatures, and low ceilings will allow for decreased energy costs associated with climate control, said Mel Baxter, the economic development authority’s director.
The $30,000 comes from the authority’s Share the Future Grant program. The grant would only cover a portion of the cost to install the backflow preventers. Economic development authority officials said Monday the cost of the installation was the only thing preventing the project from moving forward.
If the vermiculture operation located in Brunswick, it would create 20 to 25 jobs over the next 12 to 18 months. The jobs are estimated to pay between $11.50 and $18 per hour. If successful, the operation could expand.