An empty former Delphi building off U.S. 31 South could house a manufacturing company that makes and installs products for the jail and prison industries.

The business eventually would have at least 50 employees at the site.

“It’s an interesting project,” said Kerrick Whisenant, vice president of Madison-based Cornerstone Detention Products. The next steps necessary for the project are closing on the real estate and finalizing an incentive agreement from the state, he said.

"We hope (the closing will happen) before the end of the year.”

Mitch Claborn, Cornerstone’s president and CEO, founded the company in 1998. The firm makes hollow metal doors and frames and windows for jails and prisons, Whisenant said.

According to a tax abatement application, construction work on the building would begin in January, with March 31, 2021, the estimated date for construction to be completed.

On Monday, the project cleared another step in the process.

The Limestone County Commission granted, in a 4-0 vote, sales and property tax abatements requested by Tricap Development LLC and M2H2 Holdings LLC, both entities owned by Claborn.

According to the agreement with Limestone County, the two entities will invest $20.86 million in the project: about $14.75 million to acquire and build out the existing structure and about $6.1 million for high-tech fabrication equipment.

Whisenant said the company is committed to hire 50 employees, at an average pay of $18 an hour.

According to Tom Hill, president of the Limestone County Economic Development Association, the building has been vacant since automotive supplier Delphi closed its operations there in 2009.

“This is a really good thing for Limestone County, to see that building go back into service again,” Hill said.

The building, located at 20941 Sandy Road on the west side of U.S. 31 near Calhoun Community College, has about 300,000 square feet of space, Whisenant said.

“There are extensive repairs to be done,” he said. “This (project) will be a great thing to happen,” by bringing in new jobs and improving the site.

The agreement calls for 30 employees to be employed initially, then 10 more by the second year and an additional 10 by the third year. According to the agreement, the annual payroll of the new employees is to be $1.08 million initially, and an additional $360,000 by the second year and additional $360,000 for the third year.

The commission approved the abatement of $635,380 in non-educational property taxes over a 10-year period and the abatement of $316,400 in sales taxes during the construction period.

The project is projected to generate $173,200 in sales tax revenue for schools, and a total of $485,870 in property tax revenue for schools.

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marian.accardi@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2438. Twitter @DD_MAccardi.

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