Plant City firm buys shuttered Smithfield meatpacking plant
PLANT CITY - A shuttered meat packing plant that was founded 45 years ago by a Tampa family has been bought by a Plant City firm. Smithfield Foods, which closed the plant in 2009, sold the plant off Turkey Creek Road to Stine Properties III LLC for $337,500, Hillsborough County property records show. The meat-packing factory was opened in 1967 by Tampaís Lykes Bros. At the time Smithfield closed the plant, it was the cityís largest employer with 760 employees. The fate of the 170,000 square-foot plant was unknown under new ownership. City Manager Greg Horwedel said Thursday that he plans to meet with the new owners to discuss their plans for the building, which has fallen into disrepair since its closure.Don Stine, the managing member of Stine Properties, couldnít be reached immediately for comment. Stine is also president of Don Stine Construction, 2509 Turkey Creek Road. Smithfield, which bought the plant in 1996 from Lykes, closed six plants around the country when it shuttered the one in Plant City. The plant at 4611 Lykes Road packaged spiral hams, hot dogs and luncheon meats, and included huge areas for production and warehousing, including cold storage. At one time, the plant was one of the nationís largest hot dog producers. A Smithfield spokeswoman couldnít be reached for comment.