The site on JA Berry Lane where Nelson Family Enterprises LLC plans to locate a new warehouse and distribution center for wholesale foods is shown. The $2.5 milion development will employ 12-15 high-wage workers to service retailers. (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
The site on JA Berry Lane where Nelson Family Enterprises LLC plans to locate a new warehouse and distribution center for wholesale foods is shown. The $2.5 milion development will employ 12-15 high-wage workers to service retailers. (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
Madison’s Board of Zoning Appeals and Plan Commission both approved requests Monday night that will pave the way for a new industry to locate on JA Berry Lane in the buffer zone on Madison’s hilltop over the next few months.

Nelson Family Enterprises LLC, of Sioux City, Nebraska, is buying about 6.3 acres on JA Berry Lane where it will locate a wholesale food distribution plant that will initially cost about $2.5 million and provide 12-15 high wage jobs with potential for growth.

Tom Fredricksen, a representative of the company, and Matt With, executive director of Madison’s Madison Office of Economic Development, both appeared before the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) and Plan Commission Monday night to request a conditional use permit for the site and handicapped parking at the facility.

According to Fredricksen, the plant will serve as a wholesale warehouse and distribution center for dry human food products, receiving deliveries Monday through Friday and some Saturdays from food manufacturers and then distributing those products to area retailers. It’s a 38-year-old company that does business with manufacturers like Tyson and Smithfield among others.

Wirth said the company is a “win, win” for Madison and Jefferson County in that it not only provides jobs but also development and infrastructure on a road zoned for heavy industry and marked for economic development.

“This is very exciting news to us and to our community and county,” Wirth said. “This will be a very significant investment in building, land and infrastructure as well as, equally important to me and to our city and county, some very high wage jobs. Initially, 12 to 15 to start, but potential for growth over time. From an economic development standpoint this is a win, win for both the city and the county.”

The plant will be located on the south side of JA Berry Lane just east of the Madison Railroad line that runs between Madison and North Vernon. The property is currently owned by Riverside Contracting and Excavating, LLC and is being sold by owners Tony and Lisa Hammock to Nelson Family Enterprises.

Wirth said access to the rail line wasn’t a selling point on the property at this time — the company uses trucks to both receive and distribute food products — but that the access is still there should the company ever want to pursue that option.

Wirth said the property is located in the city-county buffer zone in an area that is well removed from residential housing and designated for industrial development.

“As you guys are well aware, it is situated in the buffer zone and that helps all of us equally. This is the kind of industry we want and I would like to say that with the $2.5 million investment and the jobs that is exciting news,” Wirth said. “I hope to continue to grow that area for some more of our industrial light manufacturing prospects over the years to come so we were very happy when they approached us to be out there.”

“I build a lot of these buildings and I like the area,” Fredricksen said. “I came down here and met Matt and the team and they were really good to work with. I’m excited as much as they are. I think it’s a win, win situation.”

In addition to construction of the building and access roads, the company will also provide its own septic system at the site.

In asking the BZA to grant the conditional use permit, Wirth urged the board to consider allowing the conditional use permit to cover a 10-year period rather than the more routine one-year permit. He said the size of investment is a good indication the company is “obviously not going to go anywhere” and the 10-year permit would reassure the company and its investors that the city is committed to their investment.

The BZA went through its findings of fact and then voted unanimously to grant the permit for the 10-year period.