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Texas Pete maker set to buy 31 acres near airport. Property is currently school maintenance headquarters.
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Texas Pete maker set to buy 31 acres near airport. Property is currently school maintenance headquarters.

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TW Garner Food Co., maker of Texas Pete hot sauce and other products, has finalized plans to buy a 31-acre site north of Smith Reynolds Airport from Forsyth County.

The property at 4897 Lansing Drive is the current maintenance headquarters of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

The school system has kept 140 of its 358 school buses parked on the land, which also has a garage for vehicle repairs, offices and supply storage.

Garner said a groundbreaking event is scheduled for late July or early August with plans for the first facility — a warehouse — to open in May.

Company officials said in September their goal is to build a new campus where they will combine and expand company operations.

Garner owns a plant at 4045 Indiana Ave., a building off North Point Boulevard and a 14,500-square-foot headquarters in the Nash-Bolich building on Fourth Street in downtown Winston-Salem.

Garner has considered expanding within an existing building since 2017 but said Thursday it had not been successful in finding one that would meet its needs.

“We are grateful to be finalizing the details to bring this important project to fruition,” Heyward Garner, the company’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

“It’s been a long time in the making, and we’ve had a lot of incredibly supportive partners in the Winston-Salem area that have helped us find the right property to give us some much-needed room to grow.”

Mark Owens, president and chief executive of Greater Winston-Salem Inc., has said he has been assured by Garner that it remains committed to its downtown headquarters and would not be moving it from downtown.

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When Garner moved downtown in 2016, the company made it clear it wanted to raise its culinary-arts profile.

The first project is scheduled to be a facility that will expand the company’s usable warehouse space by 65%, Heyward Garner said.

“Along with many improvements in the warehousing operations, this will be a key component in helping us continue to grow and meet demand for our products,” Heyward Garner said.

Because the company’s proposed new site is near the airport, arranging the sale required the approval of both the Federal Aviation Administration and the N.C. Department of Transportation.

Front Street Capital, a Winston-Salem company involved in commercial real-estate investment, put together the deal, which would include paying Forsyth County $1.55 million for the property.

Kirby Robinson, assistant general services director for Forsyth, said in September that Garner would lease part of the site back to the county for a year so that school officials would have time to find a new headquarters for maintenance operations.

“(Garner is) thinking they could fit several large industrial buildings on the property,” Robinson said.

Darrell Walker, assistant superintendent of construction for the public schools, said in September he already was planning where to move the buses and drafting plans for a new maintenance garage.

“I’m guessing that a new maintenance facility would be a couple million dollars,” Walker said.

On Friday, Walker said the buses already have been relocated. He said cost of a new facility could be “considerably more if we have to build an all-new facility.”

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@rcraverWSJ

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