Editor's note: E.R. Boliantz has yet to make an offer on the Jacobsen Avenue building as it is in contract with another buyer currently. The zoning change allows Boliantz to purchase the building should the current deal fall through.
E.R. Boliantz Co. plans to acquire the $1.3 million property, including 5.3 acres and nearly 45,000 square-feet of space, according to the property’s listing.
Bob Boliantz opened the meat packing plant in Ashland in 1985. The company, which processes beef, pork and lamb, most recently renovated an additional building in Mansfield. The company is ready again to expand, said Zane Gross, the company’s operations manager.
Because of the building’s size, the acquisition could mean consolidating the operations under one roof, he said.
“The growth of the company has been exponential over the past four, five, six years,” he said.
The property, which formerly housed Lippert Enterprises, is zoned for heavy industrial purposes. Certain uses of the property, such as the harvesting of animals, requires receiving permission from city council, Mayor Matt Miller said.
Some council members had questions concerning noise and odor levels — due to the site’s proximity to residential homes.
Gross said the site is large enough to store animals waiting to be slaughtered inside. He said there would be no need to build an outdoor barn or holding site.
In terms of truck volume, Gross expects up to five semi-truck deliveries per day. A rendering company partners with Boliantz to dispose of animal parts not harvested for food, Gross said.
“That building is very deep — it goes way back. So the areas that you might unload and so-on are (away from the road),” Miller said.
Ashland County Commissioners President Denny Bittle, who also works as a farmer, said allowing Boliantz to use the larger building would help the meat industry as a whole.
“For us to process our meat now, we have to schedule a year out. So this processing expansion is much-needed in the community. We’re all in the same boat,” he said.
Industry leaders have lamented over the national backlog, stemming mostly from the pandemic.
The federal government responded in June with the announcement that the USDA would invest $4 billion in the nation’s food supply system.
Of that, $55 million has been earmarked for improved access to federal inspection among small and medium-sized meat processors, which could lead to those facilities to begin interstate trade and improve disrupted supply chains.
Council’s decision Tuesday means Boliantz can move forward with purchasing the building on Jacobson Avenue. Gross said the company is ready to make an offer, but waited to do so until it got the green light to use the facility for its intended purposes.