Potential new business opportunity possible for vacant building

Local News
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The former ATCO building sat vacant for three years, but that soon could change.

This 140,000 thousand square foot building on Burkburnett Road used to house ATCO but has been vacant for some time.

The Economic Development Corporation now owns the building since ATCO vacated it. Some potential environmental issues were uncovered, but none of them were major issues and are now mostly taken care of.

After the building was vacated, the issues that were found were related to contaminated groundwater.

“The question was what is it? How bad is it? Will it prohibit somebody else from doing business or from even being in that building? The good news is the consultant came back and said no it’s minimal,” Chamber of Commerce President Henry Florsheim said. “There is a way you can mitigate that and allow someone to function in the building.”

The major thing they are working on now is identifying the source of that water.

“A lot of times when it’s surface or underground contamination, you don’t necessarily contribute it to the facility that’s sitting on it,” Chamber of Commerce Business Retention and Expansion Vice President Travis Haggard said. “Water moves underground all the time. It could have come from a number  of places. That’s the biggest challenge right now is identifying where it came from and then just the clean up.” 

With the building useable pending approval from Texas Commision on Environmental Quality,
Florsheim said there are multiple companies looking at the building and depending on which moves in could add a significant amount of jobs.

“That building was made for mobile home manufacturing and that sort of processing,” Florsheim said.
“We have had prospects look at it for the same sort of manufacturing company. It really runs the gambit, but we have talked to companies that could create anywhere from 75 to 250 to 300 jobs there.”

All of those new jobs would have a big economic impact on the city.

“If we are talking about 100 jobs at an average wage of $40,000 a year, you are talking about a $4 million new payroll right there,” Florsheim said.  “Many of the employers we have talked to lately offer wages higher than that and are looking to employ more than that.”

Now they are just waiting on the TCEQ to officially clear the building for a new company to move into it.

Florsheim said he hopes the letter from the TCEQ clearing the building will be in by the end of the year, but you never know how long it could take them to complete it and send it out.

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