Starbucks picks Carson Valley for roasting plant |

Starbucks picks Carson Valley for roasting plant

Seattle-based Starbucks Coffee Co. has signed a purchase and sale agreement with the owners of Carson Valley Business Park to build a 300,000-square-foot coffee roasting and packaging plant in Douglas County.

“We are relieved and excited to have cleared another hurdle in our efforts to find a suitable site for our third roasting plant,” company administration Vice President Rick Arthur said in a statement released exclusively to The Record-Courier Friday. The agreement means Starbucks intends to build the roasting and packaging plant at the business park and the negotiated sale price has been put into escrow, officials confirmed Friday.

At this point, Starbucks and Carson Valley Business Park have agreed on terms and conditions for acquisition, said company spokesman Chris Gimbl. The purchase and sale will not be final, however, until escrow closes after a due diligence period of 90 days.

“While we realize there are still several steps ahead of us, we are hopeful that we will be able to join the Douglas County community as a business partner,” Arthur said.

Business park developer Gary Cook said negotiations led to an agreement this week, with the company committing to buying the 100-acre site near Johnson Lane.

“We’re extremely pleased and excited about moving forward with this,” Cook said. “The rest is now formalities. But it is safe to say that Starbucks has chosen Minden for its roasting andpackaging operation.”

The company plans to expand its distribution with the plant so it can cover growing markets in Southern California and the Southwest.

Construction could begin as early as next week, with the addition of new roads leading up to the site and grading work. Starbucks has hired Western Engineering of Carson City, which spent last week at the site doing survey work.

Although the facility might eventually become as large as 300,000 square feet, it would occupy only a small portion of the total 100-acre site, Gimbl said.

During its first year of operation, the plant would employ 50 to 60 people, many of whom will be hired locally. The company has said that once it settles in, it would add up to 200 employees during the next five years.

The roasting plant would open about 16 to 18 months after ground is broken, Gimbl said. News of the agreement comes less than a month after Starbucks said it had ruled out potential sites in Stead and Fernley.

A deciding factor in the company’s decision to build the plant was a height variance granted last month by Douglas County planning commissioners. In that decision, commissioners agreed to the variance, which allows Starbucks to build three 80-foot-tall silos to store coffee beans for roasting.

Current county rules limit heights to 45 feet. The planning board also agreed to trim the number of parking spaces the county requires, from 500

to 250.

While the company has won approval by the local business community and even some of the county’s staunchest environmentalists, some residents question whether the company’s bean roasting process will pollute the Valley.

However, air quality officials in Pennsylvania and Washington state, where Starbucks operatesfacilities like the one proposed at the Johnson Lane site, have said particulate matter released from the facilities is minimal and both sites meet all clean-air requirements.

Others have argued the height variance for the bean silos would interfere with views of the local landscape. But county planning officials said while a number of letters were generated to the county voicing this concern, no one chose to appeal the Planning Commission’s height variance decision.

After escrow, Starbucks will take its plans to Douglas County’s Planning Department, where it willundergo the design review process, which county officials estimate will take about 30 to 40 days. Issues to be resolved are site layout and building design. Also, Starbucks will be required to submit plans to the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection.

Douglas County officials expressed elation at the developments.

“This is exciting,” said Douglas Commissioner Kelly Kite, whose district includes Johnson Lane. “It fits all of the categories for business that we’ve been looking to recruit. It is a clean industry, uses very little water and has a reputation of being a responsible company.”

Over the past three months, Kite and fellow county commissioners have met on several occasions with Starbucks officials, with the hopes of convincing them to build the plant in Douglas County. Commission Chairman Bernie Curtis said he welcomes the company to Douglas County.

“I’m looking forward to Starbucks completing their real estate transaction and becoming a viable member and employer to the region,” Curtis said. “They will be welcomed here and we are looking forward to a long-lasting relationship.”

The company will generate jobs for residents and add to the county’s tax base, county officials have said.

Officials added construction of the plant will lead to jobs, as well as more expendable money used in Douglas County.

“We’re very excited and pleased that they have chosen Douglas County as the place they want to build,” said County Manager Dan Holler. “The type of company they are, an environmentally clean industry, will really fit well in Douglas County.”

Commissioner Steve Weissinger said the agreement is a culmination of hard work by Starbucks, developer Gary Cook and county planners.

“What we have here is a genuine spirit of cooperation,” Weissinger said. “The county gave no incentives. I think they just looked at the view and the employment base and determined that this is where they want to locate.”

Starbucks is the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world. In addition to its retail locations in the United States, including eight locations in Northern Nevada, the company is expanding its presence in the United Kingdom, continental Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim.

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