by Cameron Dodd
Construction of a chili processing plant in Presidio started this week, and the company hired to build it has purchased their own piece of town.
Contractors hired to build the new Biad Chili Products plant at the Presidio Industrial Park broke ground Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday morning, it appeared crews had started clearing brush and plants from the construction site. Construction is expected to ramp up in the coming days, according to company CEO Don Biad.
“Right now, they’re mobilizing equipment, the work will really start sometime this week,” Biad said.
The New Mexico-based company purchased a 32-acre tract of land west of town on FM 170 in February. At the time, construction was expected to begin April 1.
Biad did not comment on delays but said the company still plans on having the plant up and running by the middle of 2017.
“The goal is to finish construction by the end of this year, and probably use the first part of next year for moving and installing equipment,” Biad said.
The new plant needs to be up and running by September of next year, Biad said, in time to process the 2017 crop of chili peppers from Mexico. Biad has previously said the plant will likely employ between 40 and 50 seasonal worker following the chili harvest.
Two Seminole, Texas-based contractors building the chili plant have made their own investment in Presidio. David Peters and Jon Neufeld of Seminole hired to build the Biad plant have purchased the Presidio Lodge and DASP RV Park.
DASP, which stands for Desert and Sierra Panorama, sits atop a hill off Highway 67 on the north end of town.
“We’re going to make it a better park,” Neufeld said. “We plan to add more spaces, more cabins. We want to make it a place people want to stay.”
The purchase of the park also serves the chili plant construction. The park is less than a mile from the Biad plant site, and the contractors plan to use the rocky land near the park as a gravel source for making concrete for the 35,000-square-foot facility.
Neufeld and Peters declined to comment on whether they will start commercial production of concrete in Presidio or whether their concrete operation will be more than just temporary.