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Bell & Evans not interested in former Perdue plant

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Bell & Evans broke ground on a major expansion Wednesday on Route 22 in Bethel Township.
Bell & Evans broke ground on a major expansion Wednesday on Route 22 in Bethel Township. - (Photo / )

Bell & Evans has no interest in buying the recently closed BC Natural Chicken plant about a mile from where the company is making major expansions.

President and Chairman Scott Sechler Sr. said Wednesday he also doesn’t see much of a future for the building, owned by Perdue Farms, as an industrial or manufacturing use.

“There wasn’t money put into that place in 20 years,” Sechler said. “I’m hoping somewhere along the line Perdue donates it to the fire company or something.”

Bell & Evans has embarked on a major expansion project and is about to start one across Route 22 in Bethel Township in Lebanon County from the site of its current expansion.

Between the two expansions, the company would be adding about 2,000 employees. The expansion that broke ground Wednesday is scheduled to be open and operational by next spring. While engineering work is about to begin on the second expansion, site work likely won’t start until after the current project is finished.

Even with all of that expansion in Bethel Township, Sechler never considered the former BC Natural Chicken plant despite its proximity to the Bell & Evans sites.

Perdue Farms closed the plant in March because it was too cost-prohibitive to modernize. The closure cost about 620 jobs at the plant and a smaller logistics center in Lancaster County.

Julie DeYoung, spokeswoman for Perdue Farms, said the company is “still exploring our options and talking with parties that are interested in buying the facility.” She said the company’s preference is to sell the facility.

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