Sysco Project Picking up Pace in Hamlet

There’s finally some movement on the Sysco project in Hamlet. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Director, Charles Weaver, revealed yesterday that he has been securing information for three general contractors who have been asked by the Baugh Midwest Cooperative to submit bids for the construction of the massive redistribution center. Baugh Midwest Cooperative is the parent company of Sysco.

Weaver, though, said this is the third time Baugh Midwest has solicited bids. The first two bid solicitations did not produce a go-ahead from the company.

The plant will cover at least 500,000 sq. feet, if approved.

When asked his feelings, this time Weaver would only say that he is “optimistic.” Construction of the center could run upwards of $100 million dollars. The initial estimate was $67 million.

If officials of Baugh Midwest Cooperative do give the go-ahead this time, it would be a huge psychological and actual shot in the arm to residents in this area. Starke County has been in the top 10 (often top 5) of unemployment in the state.

Estimates of potential jobs have been in the 600-800 range. Weaver cautioned our listeners and readers to not get too excited yet, but to keep their fingers crossed for “good news”.

The selection of the Hamlet site by Sysco was announced in February of 2006. In March of 2007, 320 acres of property was purchased and in January of 2009 a decision to proceed with construction of the Hamlet West infrastructure was made.