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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Allens Canning closes and sells former Ranch Style Beans plant

FORT WORTH -- Less than two years after opening in the former Ranch Style Beans plant near downtown Fort Worth, Allens Canning Co. has shuttered the facility and sold it this week to a Fort Worth-based industrial real estate investor.

Conti Warehouses in Fort Worth on Tuesday bought the 211,743-square-foot manufacturing plant on 20.2 acres at 1743 El Paso St., said Ryan Wood, a Conti vice president.

Ryan said Conti will turn the facility into a multi-tenant warehouse and manufacturing facility. It is negotiating with two tenants, one that would lease 30,000 square feet and another 130,000 square feet.

"We were happy to get it," Wood said of the building.
The plant was closed by the end of 2011; it's believed that between 60 and 70 employees lost their jobs.

Representatives of Allens Canning, based in Siloam Springs, Ark., could not be reached for comment today.

Allens bought the plant from ConAgra in June 2010, two months after ConAgra idled its operations and moved production to other states. More than 120 employees lost their jobs.
In May 2010, the Fort Worth City Council approved a 10-year tax abatement for Allens, but it was never honored because the company didn't meet hiring requirements, said Robert Sturns, the city's economic development manager.

Sturns said city officials leanred that the plant was closed after receiving a bulletin from Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County in December. He said his office tried to reach company officials, but calls were not returned.

Allens began operating out of the plant around June 2010 and at one time planned to hire as many as 150 workers and run two shifts.

Allens, founded in 1926, produces 11 lines of canned and frozen vegetables and beans. The company says it was one of the first packers of sweet potatoes, which it still sells under the Sugary Sam, Princella and Royal Prince brands.

The landmark Ranch Style Beans plant opened in 1913 as Great Western Foods. ConAgra acquired Ranch Style Beans in 2000 when it bought International Home Brands. Waples-Platter Cos. developed their bean recipe during the Great Depression.

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