Business

Textile manufacturing startup eyes Alliance site in north Fort Worth

A Tulsa businesswoman plans to open a textile manufacturing plant near the Alliance Intermodal center in far north Fort Worth.
A Tulsa businesswoman plans to open a textile manufacturing plant near the Alliance Intermodal center in far north Fort Worth. Star-Telegram archives

A Tulsa-based entrepreneur has turned her sights to Fort Worth to locate a startup textile manufacturing firm after plans to do so in Port Arthur fell through.

Joy Nunn, founder and CEO of Pure Renewables USA, is looking to lease a facility in Fort Worth’s Alliance development with more than 800,000 square feet to make fibers used to manufacture such things as wet wipes, coffee filters and bandages.

The city is considering a five-year, $3.3 million tax abatement package that calls for the company to employ 370 full-time employees by Dec. 31, 2017, and grow to as many as 450 by the end of 2022. The jobs would pay an average of $42,000 annually.

Pure Renewables USA plans to invest $266.8 million on the plant, including $257.3 million in business personal property and $9.5 million in real property. The company will be required to hire a certain percentage of Fort Worth and central city residents, as well as spend money on supplies and other things with Fort Worth companies and minority and women-owned businesses, according to the incentive.

The company would receive a 35 percent rebate on taxes, or about $3.3 million. The city will still receive $6.2 million in taxes during that time. The city council is scheduled to vote on the proposal next week.

Nunn said Wednesday that she is operating under confidentiality agreements with customers and financiers, and could not discuss the company or her plans until financing documents are finalized.

“It is a very exciting process and business and we will be thrilled to share with you all as soon as we are able,” she said.

Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, assistant director of the city’s economic development department, told the council this week that Nunn is a mechanical engineer and has been in textile manufacturing since 1990. Nunn holds 18 industry patents, she said.

Nunn reportedly looked at other sites in Texas, Georgia and Oklahoma, Hicks-Sorensen said. The company is looking at a 20-year lease on the Fort Worth building, located near the Alliance Intermodal facility, but that lease has not yet been signed, she said.

The Fort Worth facility, which can be expanded to 1.3 million square feet, will have eight manufacturing lines, recycling textile scraps into cotton and rayon yarn, rayon fiber and cotton powder, she said.

The plant will house the company’s corporate offices and warehouse space, in addition to the manufacturing, the council was told.

In 2015, The Port Arthur News reported that the company was going to invest $200 million in that city, employing as many as 500 workers. But the deal fell through after the company decided the two buildings it was going to lease were not going to be large enough.

The Port Arthur City Council last month rescinded a $1.5 million economic incentive it offered, according to reports.

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