Caterpillar plant attracting interest of prospective industries

Published 8:34 am Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Caterpillar is on its way out of Boyle County, but it’s leaving behind a building that’s attracting a lot of attention from prospective industries who may want to move in.

“The building has drawn the interest of at least five prospect inquiries and tours due to its size, relatively young age, construction quality, excellent condition and ability to expand,” said Jody Lassiter, president and CEO of the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership, on Monday.

One of those prospects could soon acquire the facility, as Lassiter told Boyle County Magistrates last week.

Email newsletter signup

“Right now, our leading product is the Caterpillar facility, which — more to share later, but we’re about to close a deal on that,” Lassiter said during a discussion with magistrates about the idea of constructing a “spec building” to attract industries.

Such a spec building would theoretically be built without a business lined up to use it, and would then be available to any business interested in opening immediately without waiting to build.

Lassiter said having an attractive facility like the Caterpillar plant available has an impact.

“It’s been our leader in prospective activity,” he told magistrates. “It’s been significant over the first quarter having a product like that.”

Boyle County Judge-Executive Harold McKinney said he was glad to hear that Lassiter, who is also president and CEO of the Danville-Boyle County Industrial Foundation, was finding interest in the building.

“We should appreciate that,” McKinney said last week. “That has nothing to do with the industrial foundation; it doesn’t belong to them. I know you expended some effort to get somebody in there, so we appreciate that.”

Caterpillar first announced plans to close its Danville plant in November 2015, eliminating about 75 local jobs. The company is expected to occupy its building along Corporate Drive in the industrial park until July 31 “on their current timetable,” Lassiter said Monday.

Ben Kleppinger/
Caterpillar’s Danville facility is expected to be vacant at the end of July, but Economic Development Partnership CEO Jody Lassiter says there are already multiple inquiries from industries interested in occupying the space.

Lassiter said due to a non-disclosure agreement, he couldn’t comment on details of the current prospective project, but noted it “is on track with due diligence.”

Lassiter said the additional inquiries mean even “if this one does not proceed, there are others in the wings.”

“That’s another factor in not being able to talk too much about one prospect in the case something changes,” he said.