It's been eight months since Nestlé Purina PetCare announced that it would build a U$D 550 million factory at South Afton Industrial Park in Williamsburg, and construction on the project is moving along.

The new factory will be part of Purina's network of 21 existing manufacturing locations across the United States, and it will be the company's first new factory built from the ground up since 1975, according to an earlier press release announcing the project.

Purina's South Afton Industrial Park factory is planned to be 1.2 million square feet and will produce dry dog and cat food, including Purina Pro Plan, Purina ONE and Dog Chow.

According to the press release, Purina's new operations will be designed with sustainability at the forefront, including a commitment to send zero waste for disposal, and production processes designed to recover and reuse heat and water.

Purina also plans to make the factory 100 percent powered by renewable electricity in the 'shortest practical timeframe,' while supporting the company's ambition for zero environmental impact in company operations by 2030. Construction on the facility began last fall, and the factory is expected to be operational in 2023.

Recently, Purina spokesperson Tiffany Gildehaus provided an update on the project's build. She said that following mass earthwork at the beginning of 2021, foundation pouring began in March, and the first precast wall was constructed in April. She added that steel will begin emerging this summer and building construction will ramp up this fall.

'This factory will be one of Purina's most technologically advanced, utilizing robotics and innovative digital tools to connect employees and produce its pet food recipes. To support employee training and career progression, the factory will feature one of the first Nestlé Purina Training Universities,' she added.

More than 300 people will be employed at the factory, according to Purina, with jobs that include professional staff, production operators, technical staff and engineers.

With months of work put in at the project site, Purina Director of Sustainable Operations Gopi Sandhu spoke positively about working within the local community.

'It's been exciting to watch all the progress the team has made over the last six months. There is a very dedicated group of associates and partners working tirelessly to bring this new factory to life, and our interactions with the local community have been positive – they share our enthusiasm and eagerness to officially make this factory operational. We are grateful to be able to expand our operations into Clermont County, and soon have more than 300 associates call it home,' Sandhu said in an email interview.

County and local officials have been working together to entice Nestle Purina Petcare Company to South Afton Commerce Park. During its regular session on Sept. 30, 2020 the Clermont County Board of County Commissioners approved an Ohio Enterprise Zone Agreement by and between the Board of Trustees of Williamsburg Township, the Board of Commissioners of Clermont County and Nestle Purina Petcare Company.

Per the agreement, Nestle Purina Petcare Company, with main offices located in St. Louis, Missouri, will be given a 100 percent tax exemption for 15 years for the increase in assessed valuation of real property constituting the agreed project site.

The exemptions would need to be taken advantage of starting no later than tax year 2025, and do not extend beyond tax year 2039. Now, several months into the project, Clermont County Board of County Commissioners President Claire Corcoran said that it's gratifying to see the hard work of those who took action to bring solid jobs to Clermont County.

'We now see the beginning of the production of tangible results. We're pleased to see progress on the Nestle Purina plant, a facility that will create jobs for years to come,' Corcoran said in an email interview. 'It stirs the imagination to see the factory taking shape in South Afton Industrial Park along State Route 32 at the eastern entrance to Clermont County. You can get an early picture in your mind of the state-of-the-art facility that will help Clermont County continue to thrive in years ahead. It's truly exciting to see things coming together as planned.'


By: The Clermont Sun

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