Old Phoenix pickle plant gets a new life

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- An empty Phoenix warehouse with an interesting history is getting a new life, and creating new jobs.

The old Arnold's Pickles building, at 14th Street and Van Buren Avenue, just east of the downtown core, will soon be home to a business incubator and manufacturing facility.

The non-profit organization, Chicanos Por La Causa, closed on the building this week. They used nearly $3 million in federal grant money from the US Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration.

"The idea is to create new businesses here.  It will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to test their products, do a prototype, and try to sell it," David Adame, CPLC's Chief Economic Development Officer told 3TV.

They estimate 200 new jobs, and hope for more. "It's a one stop shop for entrepreneurs," Cecil Yates of CPLC said.

"If you come in with a new idea and bring the prototype in, we can make a 3D printing of it. Then you go out and pitch it.  We can later help with manufacturing orders," he explained.

"I remember as a kid [Arnold's Pickles] were a staple at our house. They had hot pickles, dill pickles, kosher pickles, all those things," he remembers.

The old pickle plant includes 30,000 square feet of manufacturing space inside, plus another two acres outside.

"We want to keep the integrity of the building," Adame said on a tour of the facility.

Most of the plant has been stripped.  Its last tenant, a furniture manufacturer, used most of the wood from the old pickle vats to create woodwork.

Still, a few remnants from its heyday remain, and will be incorporated into the rehab project.

Work begins after the holidays, and they hope to have the plant up and running by June 2015.