A family-owned tire company in Mississippi will spend more than $17 million to build a distribution center in Waco, and city and McLennan County officials sweetened the deal Tuesday with nearly $900,000 in tax breaks.
Hesselbein Tire Southwest is turning dirt in the Waco International Aviation Park adjacent to Texas State Technical College. Nearby is another Mississippi-based company, Sanderson Farms, a poultry processor. Hesselbein is planning a 259,000-square-foot tire and tube distribution center on a 23-acre site. It will serve independent retailers between Dallas and Austin.
The center will employ about 40 people when it opens, probably in April 2022, “and should end up with a good bit more in time,” said Dennis King, president of Dunlap and Kyle, which is Hesselbein’s corporate parent. King said he visited Waco twice during a fact-finding mission, touring sites with the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce’s Kris Collins, an industry recruiter.
“I like Waco. I think I’ll send my son there,” King said, mentioning a possible relocation from the company’s distribution center in Dallas. Hesselbein Tire Southwest also operates in San Antonio. Waco’s center is the company’s 19th, nearly all locations concentrated in the Southeast with one in Ohio.
“Next we’re putting one in Georgia. That’s our 20th,” King said.
Company officials started expressing interest in Waco last year, Collins said by email.
“After evaluating several properties across the community, (they) identified a location in the Waco International Aviation Park as its preferred site for a distribution operation,” she wrote.
King said Hesselbein Tire distributes about 30 brands, including major names such as Bridgestone, Firestone, Toyo and Michelin. He said he did not know offhand the independent retailers Hesselbein sells to in Greater Waco, “but if there weren’t any there, we wouldn’t be building there.”
Paperwork provided to Waco City Council members Tuesday says Hesselbein Tire proposes to spend $14.5 million on real property improvements and about $1.56 million in personal property improvements. It will create 40 full-time jobs, paying at least $15 per hour and offering health insurance benefits to all employees, according to the paperwork.
If it meets all requirements, Hesselbein stands to receive $526,204 in city tax breaks between 2023 and 2027. Waco, meanwhile, will receive $676,450 in new property tax revenue during the operation’s first 10 years.
A resolution passed by McLennan County commissioners on Tuesday stipulates that each employee receive no less than $37,500 annually, that at least 80% of employees reside in the county and 40% in Waco.
Collins said Hesselbein will see county tax breaks totaling between $350,000 and $400,000 over the life of the city-county business grant.
“I do believe they chose Waco after looking at communities throughout the Central Texas region,” Collins said. “They have operations in Dallas and San Antonio, and wanted to better serve this area directly.”
Greater Waco suffers a shortage of warehousing space, but reinforcements are arriving, Collins said. A new speculative building offering “flex” space will rise near the new Amazon fulfillment center on Exchange Parkway, offering 125,000 square feet in its first phase, 60,000 square feet in its second. It could accommodate a single user or multiple users and could serve as warehousing or light manufacturing space, she said.
It is a speculative building financed by First National Bank of Central Texas.