Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that the Dairy Farmers of American plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia, Genesee County, has been sold to dairy processor HP Hood LLC.
Hood will invest over $200 million in the project over the next few years, as well as create 230 new jobs in New York over a five-year period, officials said. Hood’s headquarters is in Lynnfield, Mass. The company has four other locations in New York.
“We are fortunate that our need for more capacity coincided with an opportunity to expand our capabilities in the great State of New York,” said John Kaneb, president and CEO of HP Hood, in statement. “We have been welcomed by a resourceful and business savvy team at the Genesee County Economic Development Center and we look forward to becoming a supportive member of the local community and an employer of choice.”
Currently, the 363,000-square-foot amenity sits idle, but Hood plans to repurpose it into a facility that produces beverages with a longer shelf life. In addition, Hood will build a 100,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse. Construction, which will create 524 jobs with a payroll of almost $26 million, is expected to begin this summer and the facility is to be up and running by the second quarter 2019.
As New York’s leading agricultural sector, the dairy industry plays a vital role in the economy. Hood does more than $2 billion in business annually.
“The dairy industry is a major driver of our local economy, and now Genesee County will be home to one of the largest branded dairy operators creating hundreds of new jobs” state Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, R-Amherst, Erie County. said. “I commend HP Hood for transforming an idle facility into a $200 million investment.”
Empire State Development is contributing up to $5 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credit as well as a $2 million grant from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative in support of Hood’s latest venture. The GCEDC board is amending the present payment in lieu of taxes agreement. The amendment provides Hood with over $7 million in tax abatements over the next 10 years, officials said, and the region is expected to gain an economic benefit of more than $330 million.
“This major commitment from one of the nation’s most prominent dairy companies will inject new life into the community, creating hundreds of jobs and spurring new investment in the Finger Lakes,” Cuomo said.
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