Gov’ts Give J&J Distributing $3.3M for Upgrades
Government funds amounting to $3.3 million will help pay for $8.5 million worth of expansion and energy efficiency upgrades at J&J Distributing in St. Paul's North End.
Various government leaders gathered at the company's location on Friday and outlined plans for the project-the first under an initiative called Rebuild Saint Paul, which was announced last month and will fuel the construction of a series of projects across the city.
Rebuild Saint Paul combines bonding, private partnerships, and city, state, and federal funds; it is expected to leverage more than $100 million in investments and create more than 3,000 new jobs in St. Paul.
“J&J Distributing is a shining example of the type of projects we need to invest in to create good jobs in Saint Paul,” St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said in a statement. “With this initiative, we are tapping into a variety of tools to help this company complete their project and, in the process, creating jobs and becoming a model of energy efficiency.”
The J&J Distributing project will use $1.3 million from the Saint Paul Port Authority's Trillion Btu Fund-a fund that was made possible through $5.5 million worth of grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The $1.3 million will go toward measures that reduce energy consumption-including adding energy-efficient lighting and replacing 44 old and inefficient refrigeration units, both of which will be completed in spring 2011.
The City of St. Paul is contributing an additional $1.5 million made possible by the Minnesota Jobs Bill Tax Increment Financing. That money will be used for a 20,000-square-foot addition to the north side of its 100,000-square-foot warehouse. The addition will become a state-of-the-art facility for Cuttin' Time, the company's processing division. The expansion will begin in October and add about 150 jobs.
Additionally, J&J will use $500,000 in Saint Paul Community Development Block Grant Recovery Act funds to build an on-site greenhouse, which is expected to produce 220,000 pounds of tomatoes and other produce annually. Construction on the greenhouse will begin in the summer of 2011.
J&J Distributing, founded in 1978, transports wholesale fruits and vegetables to grocery stores around the metro area. It employs approximately 200 people.