Redding Waives $60K Worth of Permit Fees for New Stillwater Tenant in Exchange for 20 New High-Paying Jobs

Lassen Canyon nursery logo

Redding officials were delighted when Lassen Canyon Nursery last August became the first tenant of Stillwater Business Park, and they were even happier to learn that the strawberry plant producer promised to add 20 good-paying jobs.

On Tuesday, the Redding City Council demonstrated the city’s pleasure by voting 5-0 to grant Lassen Canyon $60,000 in credit that can be used in lieu of various development fees as it builds a 20,000-square-foot corporate office, a 30,000-square-foot cooler and a shipping/receiving office.

“I think it is especially grand that this helps one of our very own businesses expand,” Councilwoman Francie Sullivan said. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

The job-credit program is part of a longstanding city policy that’s intended to serve as an incentive for businesses to locate or expand in Redding and generate new full-time jobs that pay a wage that meets or exceeds the median wage in Shasta County.

City Manager Kurt Starman said the 20 Lassen Canyon jobs will pay an average of $22 an hour, including benefits. As per the city policy, $3,000 in credit is applied for each job created.

To qualify for the credit, Lassen Canyon has to provide the new jobs for a minimum of five years. The new positions will include sales managers, greenhouse technicians, lab manager, warehouse manager, and clerical staff.

Starman said Lassen Canyon Nursery has been in business for more than 50 years and is the largest seller of publicly available strawberry varieties in California. The nursery also has started propagating raspberry and blackberry plants and opened a micro propagation laboratory.

The nursery currently employs approximately 100 full-time permanent employees and employs as many as 1,200 full- and part-time employees during different times of the year. Its 2015 payroll was $15.3 million.

Council members on Tuesday thanked Pat Keener, the city’s economic development liaison for Stillwater, for his work in encouraging Lassen Canyon to invest in the business park.

Last August, when the sale was approved by the council, Keener called the deal “an outstanding success story. Lassen Canyon Nursery is known worldwide and we should be so proud that they have chosen to move their corporate office to Stillwater.”

Keener worked closely with nursery co-owners Kenny Elwood Jr. and Liz Elwood-Ponce and their management team to facilitate the sale. Starman, Keener and council members also credited Mark Lascelles, the now-retired head of the Shasta County Economic Development Corporation, and Voit Real Estate Services, the firm hired to market Stillwater lots.

The 700-acre business park, which has cost some $23 million and counting, had sat idle since its ribbon-cutting ceremony in 2010. It is located along Stillwater Creek east of Redding Municipal Airport. Lassen Canyon remains its only tenant to date.

Jon Lewis

Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.

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