Plant City firm buys shuttered Smithfield meat factory
PLANT CITY - A shuttered meat packing plant that was at one time one of the largest hot dog producers in the nation has been bought by a local 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 Tampa’s Lykes family. At the time Smithfield closed the plant, it was the city’s largest employer with 760 employees. The fate of the 170,000 square-foot plant was unknown under new ownership.City Manager Greg Horwedel said he plans to meet with the new owners soon to discuss their plans for the building, which has fallen into disrepair since its closure. Don Stine, the managing member of Stine Properties, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. Stine is also president of Don Stine Construction, 2509 Turkey Creek Road. Smithfield, which bought the plant in 1996 from Lykes Bros., 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.