I’m not planning to normally talk about this type of news as I want the blog to be a great resource for parents in the region, but this is something that can potentially affect the next generations as well as our own. I say that because a $1 million investment in the area is definitely something big. And unfortunately, it seems that it’s not going to happen anymore.
I am talking about the planned Le Bleu expansion in Wilson which apparently has been canceled, according to reports from our local news blog, Wilson Times.
Apparently, the company did not manage to get safety approvals from the officials and therefore decided to look for options elsewhere and they found them in Fayetteville.
It seems that this will not have any effect on their existing distribution site at 3010 Meteor Drive, which will continue operations normally. However, the planned expansion to bottle water in Wilson – a project estimated at $1 million which would’ve generated at least 11 new jobs, seems to have been canned.
However, judging from the comments generated by this article, it seems that there was more than red tape and bureaucracy that stayed in the way of this business going through.
Brock Agee, which is apparently the CEO at LeBleu Central Distributors, Inc. (I say “apparently” because you never know in the online world of Facebook – even though based on my judgement the profile seems to be real), had some comments to make. He answered:
“This project was an absolute disaster, based on the anti-business attitude of everyone involved in this project from economic development, the inspections office and the Mayor himself.
Le Bleu has bottling equipment in the US and several other countries and we have never encountered such an unwillingness to work with a business to bring over $1,000,000 of investment and new jobs to an area. We were forced to pull this project to another location.”
This comes as a response to Wilson Economic Development Executive Director Jennifer Lantz, who said – according to the Wilson Times – that the inspectors couldn’t give the required approvals without drawings from the company.
However, Mr. Agee has a different side of the story, stating the following:
“Le Bleu provided engineered drawings 4 times to the inspections office stamped by an engineer. We were willing to comply with every upgrade to the building required for this project. These drawings cost my small company over $6,500. Jennifer Lantz says safety is their primary concern, what was unsafe? We were willing to do all request by the inspectors who repeatedly held up this project Never issuing us a permit.”
So, as it always happens in this type of occasion, there are two sides of the story. It’s up for the higher ranked people to sort this out and, no matter who is right and who is wrong, I personally consider this a loss for all the people in Wilson. Indeed a $1 million investment is always welcome and 11 new jobs at $15 per hour are still better than no extra jobs.
But deals fall all the time for all sorts of reasons. This is life.