ConAgra said last year that it would donate the factory and 106 acres along Interstate 40 to the town when it closes. ConAgra is also giving Garner $3 million, $500,000 of which is being used to study and market the tract on Jones Sausage Road.
The nonprofit, called the Garner Economic Development Corporation, will accept the assets and use the next eight or nine months to make plans for the property.
Garner could make the plant the centerpiece of a new industrial park, carve it into parcels, sell the site to a developer, partner with a developer, or even keep it and lease the land to one or more tenants.
The directors of the nonprofit are N.C. Department of Commerce veteran Bruce Andrews Sr., Garner Town Councilman Ken Marshburn and civil engineer Elmo Vance.
Assisting the board of directors will be an eight-member ConAgra advisory board that includes Ken Atkins, executive director of Wake County Economic Development.
The ConAgra plant and the surrounding land represents a major economic development opportunity for Garner. The land, which has a tax value of $8.3 million, is off I-40, about a mile from its intersection with U.S. 70.
It includes two tracts, one on each side of the interstate. The larger track, on the west side, is 94 acres, with about 25 acres taken up by the Slim Jim plant, parking, a water treatment plant and stormwater ponds.
The challenge for Garner will be finding a buyer, or tenants, in an economy where few companies are expanding.