SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 21, 2014

Seafood processor eyes city move

Mazzetta Company would bring 225 jobs to Blackburn Park site

By Sean Horgan
Staff Writer

---- — GLOUCESTER — An Illinois-based seafood processor and wholesaler is moving into Gloucester to operate a processing plant in the Blackburn Industrial Park — a move that is expected to bring 125 full-time positions, 100-plus seasonal positions and as much as $7.5 million in new capital investments to the site of the former Good Harbor Fillet plant.

The Mazzetta Company, a family-owned and operated company based in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, is purchasing the 65,000-square-foot site at 21-29 Great Republic Ave. and plans to invest $1.5 million in improvements to the building, another $5 million on equipment and machinery necessary for its the processing line, and about $1 million on a new 8,000-square-foot tank house, according to Jim Duggan, the city’s chief administrative officer.

“This is a fantastic deal for us,” Duggan said yesterday. “We want to show them we are totally receptive and love for them to be here. And they want to be part of Gloucester’s heritage with the fishing industry.”

Officials at Mazzetta could not be reached yesterday for comment.

According to a memo Duggan drafted to the City Council, Mazzetta intends to apply to the state’s Economic Development Incentive Program that rewards companies with state and local tax incentives for full-time job growth and private investment within the commonwealth.

The EDIP program requires the business be located in an Economic Opportunity Area to receive the tax incentives. It also requires municipal support, which would come in the form of a Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, agreement with the city that would give Mazzetta approximately $17,000 in property tax abatements over five years.

The Blackburn Industrial Park Economic Opportunity Area, created in 1995, consists of 22 parcels, including the site at 21-29 Great Republic Ave.

That EOA, however, is set to expire Sept. 20, 2015, and must be extended by Feb. 28 in order for Mazzetta to meet the application submission deadline to participate in the state’s EDIP program.

That has led Mayor Carolyn Kirk to ask the City Council for two actions at Tuesday night’s regular meeting: to approve the TIF agreement the city is offering Mazzetta and extend the Blackburn Industrial Park EOA, but only for the prospective Mazzetta site at 21-29 Great Republic Ave., for 12 years.

“They’re making an investment in Gloucester, and we want to make an investment in them,” Duggan said.

Mazzetta has other New England facilities, including a freezer warehouse in Londonderry, N.H., and the Atwood Lobster Co. in Spruce Head, Maine, which it purchased in May 2011.

The company is a far-flung international importer of various frozen seafoods, which it markets in its SEAMAZZ line. That line includes various species of fish, as well as shrimp, crabs and mussels. It offers lobster tails from its Maine producer, as well as from New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, the Caribbean, Australia, South Africa and Tristen.