A poultry processor will invest $15 million in a new plant in Tuscaloosa that is expected to create 180 jobs.

The news was announced by the Tuscaloosa County Economic Development Authority, who approved tax abatements for the project in a meeting Thursday.

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The company behind the plant, Atlanta's Fit Foodz, said coming to Tuscaloosa just makes good business sense.

“The deep pocket of talent, the colleges and university that adds so significantly to that, a tremendous living environment and the amazing people we’ve met there really made Tuscaloosa an ideal location for us,” said Lenna Castagna, president and founder of Fit Foodz. “It is a great location in a great community, and we will have plenty of room to expand.”

The Tuscaloosa plant will join a global operation, as Fit Foodz is already working in Japan, Guam and Europe and looking to better serve customers in the United States.

The TCEDA is chaired by Tuscaloosa City Councilman Norman Crow, who touted the board's work to attract the poultry company to the area.

“The introduction of Fit Foodz to our community will add to our existing poultry business base while introducing a new corporate citizen to support our continued economic growth,” Crow said.

The company processes and delivers healthy chicken products to food service and retail sectors and their expansion reflects huge demand for poultry across the world.

The new facility, which will be built on 7 acres on 39th Street in Tuscaloosa, will feature a raw processing line and a line to fully cook chicken.

Construction is expected to begin later this year.

“I’m pleased to help welcome our newest corporate citizen, Fit Foodz, to Tuscaloosa,” Mayor Walt Maddox said. “The opening of a Fit Foodz location in our City supports the community’s efforts to diversify our business base and job availability for our citizens. The approximately 180 jobs that will be created upon the opening of this location are well‐paying jobs for a range of skill levels, and represent an excellent opportunity for our workforce.”

The TCEDA approved a tax abatement of non-educational sales tax and use tax for the funds Fit Foodz will spend on building the project as well as an abatement of non-educational ad valorem tax on some of their real and personal property for a total abatement of around $1 million in taxes.

“This new investment by Fit Foodz represents an opportunity for us to grow an industry sector that has a long history in our county and region,” said Judge Rob Robertson, chairman of the Tuscaloosa County Commission. “The company specializes in developing healthy poultry options, which is an approach on trend with consumer demands.”

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