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Pine Bluff is gaining a new poultry processing operation with plans to create 150 jobs by February.

Cornerstone PB Holdings of Dallas said Friday that it is investing $4.7 million to purchase and renovate a facility at 2201 W. Second St.

"This is an exciting opportunity and we want to bring some positive growth to Jefferson County," said Ashley Dugas, a partner in Cornerstone PB Holdings, which she said was formed to reopen a former poultry processing plant that has been vacant for years.

Cornerstone is composed of investors from Dallas who will be opening their first poultry plant, which will be named Cornerstone Processing. Dugas said the group will start hiring employees in December.

"We are kind of resurrecting the operation that was there previously," she said, noting that the investment group was thrilled to find a vacant poultry processing operation with existing equipment that will be affordable to upgrade.

"This was really about the availability of the real estate," Dugas said.

Cornerstone also will hire employees who have experienced difficulty finding work, she said.

"This will employ people who have been unemployable or who have been on assistance," Dugas added. "We're also going to be a second-chance employer that hires people who need another opportunity."

The plant will process chickens and package the meat for sale both domestically and internationally, she said.

State economic development officials are encouraged that an empty building is being renovated and revitalized.

"It's great to see a former plant brought back to life in an industry that has a ready workforce in Pine Bluff and the surrounding communities," state Department of Commerce Secretary Mike Preston said. "Cornerstone is ready to make a successful go of it, and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission is proud to have been a part of bringing the project to the area."

Cornerstone will begin accepting employment applications at the plant on Dec. 16 and will conduct an on-site job fair in partnership with the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County. The dates for the fair will be announced in the coming weeks.

The company is being offered incentives that include sales and use tax refunds on the purchase of building materials, machinery and equipment. It also will gain state income tax credits through the Advantage Arkansas program. The proposed average hourly wage of new employees hired as a result of the project must be equal to or greater than $12.50 to qualify for credits under the program.

Business on 11/23/2019

Print Headline: Investors to reopen PB poultry plant

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