LOS ANGELES - U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas told the manufacturer of the popular Sriracha hot sauce if Irwindale, Calif., doesn't want your factory, the San Fernando Valley will take it.
The internet has buzzed with panic from food aficionados about the possibility of a shortage of the popular hot sauce since the city filed a lawsuit against the factory on Oct. 28.
The national media attention has resulted in other states contacting the owner of Huy Fong Foods about relocating. Cardenas said he wants to ensure that if Huy leaves Irwindale, the factory will at least stay in Los Angeles County.
The lawsuit was filed after residents complained about burning eyes, itchy throats and a pervasive smell of chili peppers wafting from the factory.
The city council voted on April 9 to designate the factory a public nuisance. The action gives the manufacturer 90 days to install filters to correct the issue or city workers can enter the factory to install them.
Cardenas sent a letter Wednesday to David Tran, president of Huy Fong Foods offering to provide information on federal relocation programs as well as marketing and trade information about the Valley's industrial districts.
"If relocation is the only viable option, I ask that you consider moving your facility to the San Fernando Valley," Cardenas wrote in the letter. "My district has a long history of manufacturing and we would welcome your company with open arms."
Tran didn't immediately respond to a call regarding Cardenas' offer or potential relocation plans.
The 650,000-square-foot $40 million Huy Fond Foods plant opened in October 2010 to great fanfare. Huy's Sriracha sauce, the most popular of the company's five sauces, netted the company $60 million in 2013, according to Cardenas' statement.
Huy Fong Foods had competed with several other developers for the right to buy the land, before being selected by the city as the best proposed development.
In the city's economic strategic plan adopted Oct. 11, 2011, the public-private partnership with Huy for the plant's 23-acre site was hailed as a shining example of redevelopment and an "emblem of a true American success story, possible with the land assemblage and brownfields revitalization tools of redevelopment."
The chili sauce manufacturing plant was built on the former location of an asphalt batch plant and a rock, sand, and concrete aggregate processing facility. The project enabled Tran to increase production of his products by ten-fold compared to what he could achieve at his 68,000-square-foot plant located 11 miles east in Rosemead, Calif.
The city's RDA successor agency has plans in coming weeks to refund roughly $7.7 million in tax allocation non-housing bank qualified parity bonds and $2.9 million in taxable housing refundable parity bonds, according a preliminary offering statement.
The Irwindale Community Redevelopment Agency had $81 million in outstanding bond debt as of June 30, according to the city's most recent comprehensive annual financial report. Another $4 million of redevelopment agency debt was moved to the city's books after the California Department of Finance determined it was not an enforceable obligation of Irwindale's redevelopment successor agency, according to the CAFR.