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A $7.4 million building permit application was approved last week to renovate a vacant building in Washington for a “food processing operation.”

According to city building officials, the permit was issued to Tim Scheer of New Haven for the property at 331 WW Industrial Park Drive. Scheer founded Scheer Landscaping and also owns Blues Hog Barbecue and Gateway Drum Smokers, all based on WW Industrial Park Drive.

Scheer said he was out of state for a barbecue contest and was unable to comment on the new project due to ongoing permit processes with the US Department of Agriculture. He said he hoped to be able to release more information about his plans for the facility in mid-March.

According to Missourian records, Scheer has won numerous awards at competitions around the country, including the American Royal and the Kansas City Barbecue Society. He bought Blues Hog from Bill Arnold in 2015 and moved sauce manufacturing from Tennessee to a Montgomery City plant soon after.

“It looks very promising for them,” said community and economic development director Sal Maniaci. “We are really excited that they are investing in a food processing plant in Washington.”

Maniaci said his department has been in contact with Scheer and the state of Missouri about the company and Missouri Works, a tax credit program to help large employers get started. He said he was excited to bring more jobs to the area, although he wasn’t sure how much Scheer’s project would bring.

According to a now-defunct property listing on loopnet.com, the building was listed for rent in October 2016. The listing listed 51,100 square feet of lettable building area and was removed from the site in May 2017. It has stated that the building was constructed in 1996.

The property was the site of WPM Sales, the Becky’s Carpet and Tile franchise and, for a brief time, an indoor baseball practice facility for the Christian Crosspoint team. Johnnie Brock’s Dungeon Party Store also used the facility before moving to 1929 Bedford Center Drive, its current location.

Maniaci said he was happy that the building was used for industrial purposes, its purpose zoned. He said with several industrial parks nearby and the industrial nature of the surrounding businesses, it makes more sense for the building to be used in the same way.

“It’s a big building,” Maniaci said. “They have a lot of equipment they need.”

Arco Construction and project manager Clint Wobbe are listed on the construction application. It is not known when the renovations will begin.