State officials approved $1.2 million Friday to help build a second road through the 200-acre Livingston Industrial Park along U.S. 190 just east of Walker.
The move benefits Martin-Brower Co., the largest distributor of products to McDonald’s restaurants. Martin-Brower was offered that assistance by state economic development officials before the Illinois-based firm agreed in March to move its area distribution center to the Walker area from Port Allen.
Martin-Brower officials said at the time that they needed more space and better rail accessibility than was available at their Port Allen site, which opened in 1979. The company was considering new sites in both Mississippi and Louisiana prior to March.
Larry Collins, president and chief executive officer of the Livingston Economic Development Council, said the new road also will benefit other industrial park tenants, who currently have access to only one point of entry and exit.
The Economic Development Council owns the industrial park, and Collins told the board of the Louisiana Economic Development Corp. that an existing tenant has 400 employees.
Martin-Brower has agreed to bring all 160 employees of its current Port Allen distribution center to the Livingston Parish industrial park.
The second road will ease congestion at the site near Walker, Collins said. He said two other companies also are considering moving to the industrial park.
Susan Bigner, program administrator for loans and investments at the Louisiana Economic Development Corp., told board members their staff recommended approval of the $1.2 million economic development award.
Bigner also said the Port Allen distribution center will be used as a warehouse by another firm after Martin-Brower completes its move.
Board members approved the award, noting it is contingent upon Martin-Brower’s construction of its new $16 million distribution center on 22 acres at the industrial park.
The company also must retain its 160-member workforce and $8 million annual payroll. In addition, Martin-Brower agreed to add 30 jobs and another $1.5 million to its payroll by 2025.
Construction of the new distribution center is expected to begin this summer and require as much as a year for completion.
Martin-Brower supplies every item found in more than 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants worldwide. Including other customers, the supply company serves more than 20,000 restaurants in 19 countries.