A $ 220 million expansion project would create 400 new jobs


FAIRFIELD, Ohio – Fairfield’s largest industrial company has created hundreds of jobs over the past decade, and the company could add at least 400 in the next few years.

Koch Foods, 4100 Port Union Road, plans to create at least 400 new jobs by building a new addition of more than 400,000 square feet just north of its main campus, according to plans submitted to the City and County of Butler.

The company will ask Fairfield City Council for tax relief on the project on Monday, according to city documents. The city is set to offer Koch Foods a 75% tax exemption for property improvements over a 10-year period, according to the proposed tax deal with the city.

“If this project goes through, the total building investment for the expansion is estimated at $ 140 million,” Nathaniel Kaelin, director of economic development for Fairfield, said in a staff report. “The company also estimates an investment of $ 80 million in new machinery and equipment. “

As part of the deal, Koch Foods will retain its existing 1,190 full-time employees they reported to the Ohio Department of Development 1,281 full and part-time employees by the end of 2020 – and will create 400 new full time jobs. within three years of the building’s completion, which is slated for completion by December 2022. The project will begin in earnest on October 1, although the company has cleared the topographically disputed land north of its Port Union facility.

The company said it was asking for expansion in Fairfield because it was the preferred option because “(the) chicken industry is very competitive with low margins,” according to its request for the city’s tax relief. . Officials said they were “getting competitive quotes from three to four other states,” according to the document.

The 402,140 square foot expansion would allow the company to add two production lines, bringing its total number of production lines to nine. This phase of the expansion would make Koch Foods the second largest company in the city behind Cincinnati Financial.

Part of the project will also see the investment of $ 1.5 million to improve the sewer lines at the site, which would be handled by Butler County Water and Sewer.

The company could have a second phase of this expansion project, which would include the addition of a third production line ultimately giving the chicken processor 10 lines in total which could result in an additional 200 jobs, according to documents from the city. If Koch Foods proceeds to a second phase of the project, the city will build a new water tower. Koch Foods will help with the cost through a 20% utility surcharge, helping to offset the cost of a new water tower.

Last week, the director of utilities, Adam Sackenheim, told the Journal-News that the city was planning to build a sixth water tower “to meet our growing industrial demand.” He confirmed this week that the Koch Foods project is one of the main reasons why this sixth round is necessary. The new tower would be between 1 million and 1.5 million gallons, Sackenheim said. The location of the new tower would be along Port Union Road, as city council agreed in May to purchase 1.25 acres for a new tower.

Koch Foods has grown steadily over the past decade, creating hundreds of new jobs. The company announced in 2018 that it would create 150 new jobs. In 2015, the company had around 600 employees. From 2012 to 2018, Koch Foods invested $ 50 million in building expansion and new equipment, the company told Journal-News in 2018.

Koch Foods is headquartered in Chicago and has manufacturing facilities in Alabama, Illinois, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Its Fairfield operations opened in 1999 and is the city’s largest industrial employer and largest customer of water and sewage.

Koch Foods has purchased an adjacent 18.1-acre parcel for $ 300,000 north of its Port Union Road facility and plans to invest $ 220 million to expand. The company will spend $ 120 million to construct the building, $ 20 million to make improvements to its current facilities and $ 80 million to purchase machinery and equipment, according to city documents.

The expansion will allow the manufacturer of poultry products to add two new production lines, and possibly a third. That will bring the company’s total production lines to 10 if they add all three, according to city documents.

Fairfield City Council meets Monday at 7 p.m. at the Fairfield City Building, 5350 Pleasant Ave.

Koch Foods is headquartered in Chicago and has manufacturing facilities in Alabama, Illinois, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Its Fairfield operations opened in 1999 and is the city’s largest industrial employer and largest customer of water and sewage.

This story was originally published by Journal-News, a WCPO news partner.

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