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Tampa eyed for $160 million cardboard recycling plant

The center is expected to employ 96. A proposed tax break would begin in 2025

TAMPA — A recently formed partnership between a technology company and investment firm is proposing a $160 million paper and cardboard recycling plant on land in the Port of Tampa Bay.

The facility is expected to create 96 new jobs paying an average yearly salary of $55,675, slightly above the average annual private-sector wage in Hillsborough County.

New Jersey-based Kamine Development Corporation Sustainable Infrastructure (KDC) and technology company Celadon announced in December plans to invest $300 million in two new facilities to serve North America, but did not identify the locations.

It turns out one of those sites under consideration is land at the northwest corner of Guy N. Verger Boulevard and Gatx Drive on Tampa Port Authority land, according to county records.

Celadon Development Corp. plans to process 800,000 tons of mixed paper and used corrugated cardboard into recycled pulp and paper at its two locations.

As part of the deal, Hillsborough County will be asked to forego half of the company’s property taxes for a seven-year period beginning in 2025. The exemption is allowable under a 2010 voter-approved tax abatement program that expires next month. The tax reduction is expected to be worth $346,000 annually for each of the seven years.

Related: Hillsborough Commission to rework incentives

Hillsborough County commissioners will be asked Wednesday to schedule an Oct. 21 public hearing and final vote on the tax reduction.

“We are excited to continue to develop a relationship with Tampa as we consider their port as one of the sites that we would bring our business too. We hope the city and county continue to embrace us and work with us to bring this significant sustainable infrastructure project there; creating jobs, a substantial recycling solution and a positive economic impacts to the local area,” Justine Kamine, partner in Kamine Development Corporation, told the Tampa Bay Times in an email.

Disposing of used cardboard has become a growing worldwide problem because of on-demand, direct-to-consumer businesses that can result in the public mixing cardboard with other waste that ends up in municipal landfills or incinerators. Likewise, China previously received more than 28 million tons of recycled paper annually, but then banned importation of the recycled materials.

"Unfortunately, North America is behind in this infrastructure,'' Celadon and Kamine Development said in a December statement announcing their partnership. “Landfilling this material is of course not the answer. That is why Celadon and (Kamine Development) have partnered together to deploy large scale recycling infrastructure across North America to create a closed loop, waste free industry and to properly manage our cardboard use.”