Kraft Heinz Pushes for $55 Million in Infrastructure Improvements for NY Plant

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Village officials in Lowville, New York are hoping that their push for $55 million in state-funded infrastructure improvements will lead to 150 new jobs at an expanded Kraft Heinz string cheese plant in the town.

County and village officials are seeking $17.7 million to upgrade five main streets and make improvements to the water and sewer systems. They are also seeking $37 million for a new sewage treatment system featuring four anaerobic digesters.

Part of the funding will come from a $17.7 million 30-year, no-interest loan from the state Environmental Facilities Corporation.

If approved, Kraft Heinz will build a 67,756-square-foot string cheese addition in the rear of its Utica Boulevard manufacturing plant. It will also add a 5,923-square-foot receiving bay addition on the north side and a 2,169-square-foot two-pack addition on the front.

The daily milk usage at the plant will grow from 1 million to 3 million pounds, and the four new anaerobic digesters will be needed to handle increases in the whey waste byproduct.

Up to 150 additional employees could work at the expanded facility.

“We’re heading in the right direction,” said County Manager Elizabeth Swearingin, who was hired by Lewis County’s legislators in 2014. At a joint meeting to update county legislators and village trustees on the project, Swearingin emphasized the uniqueness of the opportunity. “We’re not going to have another opportunity like this in our lifetime.”

New York State Saves Kraft Heinz Plants

Under an agreement spearheaded by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Governor Andrew Cuomo, $20 million in state funds has been committed to keep open Kraft Heinz’s plants in Walton, Avon and Lowville.

Kraft-Heinz was initially planning to close the Avon facility and layoff all 405 employees, and the agreement also reversed the planned closure of the Walton facility.

An agreement was reached between New York State and Kraft-Heinz to save three of their facilities in Upstate New York, including the Walton facility in Delaware County that was initially slated for closure, as well as add additional jobs in Lowville.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.