ConAgra Packaged Foods LLC is seeking city tax incentives as part of a $44 million plan to upgrade its manufacturing and packaging plant on the northwest side of Indianapolis.
Department of Metropolitan Development staff said Friday morning that the proposed tax abatement is needed to make ConAgra’s modernization project economically feasible, allowing it to retain 392 workers in Indianapolis who make an average hourly wage of $22.11.
Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra acquired its local plant at 4300 W. 62nd St. in 1998 and uses it to process margarine and dessert topping. ConAgra said it must upgrade its production processes so it can better remove hydrogenated oils from margarine and package the product in different containers.
Without the upgrade, ConAgra said it will have to move production to a plant in Alabama or exit the margarine market. ConAgra's top margerine brands are Blue Bonnet, Fleischmann's and Parkay.
DMD staff is recommending a 10-year tax abatement that will save ConAgra an estimated $1.9 million. The company will pay an estimated $1.3 million in personal property taxes on the new equipment during the 10-year abatement period and about $283,000 in taxes annually on the equipment after the abatement period.
“Without this project, it is likely that the 62nd Street facility would close,” DMD staff wrote in recommending the abatement.
The Metropolitan Development Commission is scheduled to vote on the incentives May 16.