By Kristin Bednarski
After months of discussions and planning, officials with Huhtamaki, a global food packaging and tableware company, announced they will open a distribution center at the former Ford plant in Batavia Township.
According to a release from Huhtamaki, the company expects to invest $60 million in the facility in the next three years and plans to hire approximately 237 people to work at the location.
“This investment further demonstrates Huhtamaki’s commitment to serving the evolving needs of food service and retail customers for tableware, cups, containers, carriers and serviceware,” Clay Dunn, president of Huhtamaki North America, said in the release.
Huhtamaki is planning to use the facility initially to produce paper drink cups and distribute products made throughout the Huhtamaki manufacturing network.
Dunn said the company has completed three acquisitions and has added seven production facilities in the United States in the past 18 months.
Andy Kuchta, director of the Clermont County Office of Community and Economic Development, said they began working with Huhtamaki in December of 2011.
The company also worked with Batavia Township officials and the Batavia Local School District Board of Education before making a decision to purchase part of the facility.
“The township trustees could not be happier,” Batavia Township Trustee Bill Dowdney said about the announcement.
In October, both the township and the school district passed resolutions supporting tax abatement for the company.
“They are applying for a tax abatement for the new investment they would put in the new facility,” Kuchta said in October.
Kuchta said the property value of the former Ford plant would increase from $104,000 to approximately $260,000 with Huhtamaki in the facility.
“The biggest benefit is it is going to bring 237 jobs back to the county,” Kuchta said in October. “Great manufacturing jobs that will be available for people who might have been laid off by another company.”
Kuchta said Huhtamaki will fill most of the remaining part of the plant next to University of Cincinnati’s UC East, and will share the plant with other manufacturing companies including Global Scrap Management and Engineered Mobile Solutions.
According to the release from Huhtamaki, the company is planning to begin construction in the building this year to install production lines. Commercial production is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter.
“We would like to thank Governor John Kasich, Jobs Ohio, the Industrial Realty Group, the University of Cincinnati, and all of the officials from Clermont County and elsewhere who were involved in the site selection process,” Dunn said in the release.
Dunn said they are excited for Huhtamaki to become a part of the Batavia community.
For more information about Huhtamaki visit www.huhtamaki.com.