What to do with the old factory?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What to do with an old factory building on the corner of 9th and Poplar Street in Thayer was discussed at the Thayer Development Company Board of Directors meeting April 20 at 7 p.m. in the Bank of Thayer board room.

A layout of the building was passed around and discussed. The building has an estimated total useable area of about 45,597 square feet.

The building has a shop area, four docks, office space, break rooms and restrooms.

The directors also said they would request a bid from Mike Brown at Tri-State Construction to fix a part of the roof that is leaking.

The building sits on approximately 5.09 acres and there is another 3.71 acres, which can be used for parking.

Arlee Curtain, the current renter of the building that is using the building as a warehouse for the next four months, sent a letter with a copy of a tentative contract. In the contact, it states that the board of directors would be liable for whatever damage the building sustains while the renter is there. The directors did not agree with the terms and decided that attorney Harvey Allen should amend the rental agreement so the board of directors would not be held responsible for someone else's negligence.

According to Larry Forschler, chairman of the board, in the 1950s the Thayer community came together to build a building that would attract industry through the issuance of stock. Over time, several stockholders have died and there is either no heir or person to contact about the stock.

Forschler said the board of directors have discussed possible ways to get the stock back so they can maintain the building, but stockholders have yet to agree on a proposition.

Stockholders have not approved a proposal to donate the factory to a 501-C, which is a not-for-profit corporation. Forschler said the board of directors has been considering other options of how to continue the corporation because it takes a majority of stockholders present to do business.

He said previous renters have been the ones responsible for maintaining the building. The current renter is Arlee Curtain, which employed 100 to 120 people until it started subcontracting, and the building, eventually, became a warehouse and will be for the next four months until their rental contract runs out.

The board discussed possible ways of getting a business in the building that would add and attract jobs to the area including subleasing the building.

FedEx, trucking, Amazon and other businesses that might benefit from having a large building that could also be made to utilize the railroad in Thayer were suggested.

Ways of advertising the vacant building were also discussed. Directors suggested using Web sites and billboards.

Help from political officials in the area as well as from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks was also suggested as a way to get interest and speed jobs into the building.

Several directors were given names of people to contact about bringing jobs to the area. They will report their findings in the next meeting scheduled for May 4 at 7 p.m.

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