Fort Smith’s year of growth continues as Mars Petcare on Wednesday announced an additional investment of $ 117 million in its manufacturing facility.
The company will add 142 jobs to the facility in addition to the 120 jobs of the $ 145 million investment announced in January.
Fort Smith’s board of directors approved an industrial tax liability claim for the project at its Tuesday night meeting. Industrial Revenue Development Bonds provide a payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) incentive of 50% over 15 years.
Although he was not named at the meeting, Mars Petcare announced the extension on Wednesday morning.
The announcement comes after the increased need for pet food throughout the pandemic, according to a press release from Ikdeep Singh, regional president of Mars Pet Nutrition North America.
With nearly one in five households welcoming new pets during the pandemic, demand for wet food has increased, leading to an increase in sales of nearly 18% from last year, the statement said.
“The role of pets in our lives has grown even stronger during the pandemic, and our latest investment in Fort Smith allows us to deepen our commitment to our associates and the city of Fort Smith,” said Singh.
The investment will expand the facility’s manufacturing operations by adding two production lines, supporting the construction of a new warehouse and upgrading existing equipment.
The company has invested nearly $ 540 million in its Fort Smith plant, the statement said.
The Fort Smith plant is located on 48 acres at Chaffee Crossing, the site of much of the new growth in 2021. The 200,000 square foot expansion that began in January is expected to be completed in 2022.
The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority recorded more than $ 5 million in real estate sales in 2021, said Daniel Mann, executive director and CEO of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority.
“We have a banner year for property sales at Chaffee Crossing,” said Mann.
The redevelopment authority is also considering a planned capital investment of around $ 300 million in Chaffee Crossing in 2021, Mann said.
“It’s a pretty phenomenal year 2021,” said managing director Neal Martin. “That just adds to 2021. A company that is willing to invest in our region is pretty great. The train is rolling and we are delighted to see people coming on board.
Production at the Mars Petcare site in Fort Smith began in 2009. As of January, the company employed approximately 300 people.
Abbi Ross is the town’s reporter for the Southwest Times Record. She can be reached at aross @ swtimes or on Twitter at @__AbbiRoss