The board unanimously approved the permit at its May 7 meeting, reported WBOC, although it was the third time the proposal found itself on the board’s agenda.
The board discussed the matter at an April 16 meeting, but the matter was tabled because not all members were present. In March, the discussion was tabled so a person opposed to the plan would have time to submit a follow-up letter and to solicit more comments from state agencies.
Allen Harim in December 2017 revealed plans to repurpose the building. Those plans included converting 50,000 square feet of the facility to a chicken deboning operation. The company also wants to relocate its headquarters from Seaford, Delaware, to a portion of the Millsboro facility. Other proposed uses include a consignment warehouse operation that will store boxes and other packaging materials from International Paper and other vendors that are used in the Allen Harim production process.
The Millsboro facility is a former Vlasic pickle plant and was owned by Pinnacle Foods before Allen Harim purchased it in 2014.
Allen Harim purchased the facility in 2014 with the intent to use it as a plant to process a breed of chicken for use in a ginseng stew, but those plans did not materialize, and the facility has since primarily used the building as a storage facility.
The cpompany hopes the office space portion of the building will be ready for occupancy by the first quarter of 2019.
Allen Harim Foods is the 20th largest broiler company in the United States. According to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, it slaughtered 1.67 million chickens on a weekly basis in 2017. Company brands are Allen Harim, Nature's Sensation, Oasis All Natural Chicken and private label.