US: Incentives proved unproductive in Delaware Del Monte project

Nearly four years after Del Monte Fresh Produce bought the Pencader Corporate Center building for $6.5 million, it has again sold it to ChristianaCare for $7.5 million. In all that time, the global fruit and vegetable distributor never invested the announced $22 million to remodel the building for production lines, fruit ripening rooms and refrigerated warehouse space.

At the time, the arrival of one of America’s largest food processors was touted as an early economic development win for Delaware governor Carney’s administration. However, officials say the Pencader Corporate Center project never saw a job created.

It appears the nearly $1 million in incentives weren’t enough to get Del Monte Fresh Produce to transform the space into a key food distribution point in North America. No employees worked out of the potential distribution site, although Del Monte Fresh Produce was approved for incentives to create 27 full-time positions by the end of 2019, and had claimed it could employ hundreds more when the facility was fully in operation.

“We’re obviously disappointed that the plans didn’t come to fruition as we had hoped, but ultimately no taxpayer money was spent,” Jonathan Starkey, a spokesman for the governor, told Delaware Business Times this week.

Del Monte Fresh Produce spokeswoman Andrea Beron Hoyos referred to the Newark project as more conceptual than perhaps officials led on originally: “Although we had a few conversations, the project to develop the facility was never formalized. Through our North America optimization effort, we improved the performance in other locations, and there was never a need to revisit developing the Delaware facility.”

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