GLENVILLE — A national cheese manufacturer that already has a facility in Schenectady will build a new $25 million plant at the Glenville Business and Technology Park, Empire State Development officials announced Thursday.
Belgioioso Cheese, of Green Bay, Wisconsin is a maker of Italian cheeses that bought the Cappiello cheese plant on Broadway in Schenectady in 2011, though the retail store next door remains opened by the Cappiellos. Belgioioso is planning a modern 100,000-square-foot plant at the Glenville site, with the Cappiello plant expected to remain open, as well.
Empire State Development officials said 46 jobs will be created once the plant opens, and 31 existing jobs will be retained.
The new plant will be built on 40 acres the company is buying from the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority for $1.3 million. The land was formerly owned by the federal General Services Administration, from the time when the sprawling park on Route 5 was a naval supply and storage facility. Metroplex bought it in December.
The company will receive $850,000 in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program credits. The company will also be given a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement through Metroplex in which it will pay taxes on 50 percent of its value in the first year of operation, with its taxes rising each year until it is paying 100 percent after 10 years.
“Across the Capital Region, companies are investing in projects that establish and expand their footprint and create new jobs in our communities,” said Empire State Development CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “This project underscores BelGioioso’s commitment to Schenectady County and highlight’s New York state’s economic development efforts in Glenville.”
The plant will also create a new market for milk at a time when dairy farmers have been struggling with low milk prices, though company officials wouldn’t say how much additional milk it will be buying, since it is a privately owned company.
“We have grown our utilization of milk and this new announcement will only mean continued upward production growth,” said Tim Cronin, general manager of the existing Schenectady plant. “Belgioioso has national distribution. The most important thing is we are here to expand in Schenectady County, we are continuing to work with our dairy and milk partners, and we will not be displacing any of our staff and workforce here.”
Cronin wouldn’t provide a timeline for construction, though such large plants filled with specialized food-handling equipment would typically take more than a year to build. He said the former Cappiello plant is expected to remain in operation.
“We will continue to produce Belgioioso, Cappiello, and Casaro brand cheeses,” Cronin said. “We are going to continue to operate the Broadway facility.”
BelGioioso was founded in 1979 as a specialty producer of all-natural Italian cheeses. It is planning what company officials called a “state-of-the-art” facility.
“BelGioioso is known around the world for quality cheese products,” said Ray Gillen, chairman of Metroplex. “We have the skilled workforce, high-quality water and a great site that won the day and the deal.”
Gillen said the company wanted 40 acres so that there would be room for future expansions.
The plant’s water will come from the town of Glenville, which has wells that tap the Great Flats Aquifer.
“One of things we’re excited about is that they’ll be a new water customer for the town,” said Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle. “It’s a significant amount of water.”
With milk producers seeing some of the lowest prices they have in years, state agriculture officials also hailed the plans as a potential boost for a struggling sector of the economy.
“This is great news for New York’s dairy industry at a time when our farmers are facing many challenges,” said state Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “Once the DelGioioso Cheese plant comes online, a number of our New York producers will have a new home for their milk.”
Local officials said negotiations to have the new plant built in Schenectady County have been going on for about two years.
Schenectady County Economic Development Committee Chairman Gary Hughes, D-Schenectady, said the project will also put land that was been government-owned back onto the tax rolls.
“It’s jobs, and it strengthens the dairy industry,” Hughes said. “It’s a good collaboration between the county and the state.”
Belgioioso operates nine plants across the country, making fresh mozzarella and about 30 other cheese varieties.
“They need to meet growing demand. People love specialty cheeses,” Gillen said.
The plant’s site specifics will require review and approval by the Glenville Planning and Zoning Commission, but Koetzle said most of the challenges have been anticipated, and he expects the review to go quickly.
“It’s a huge victory for the town. We’ve been working closely with the town, the state and Metroplex,” Koetzle said.
The town is separately in the process of developing an improvement plan for the business park, including upgrading the road system, adding internal directional signage and developing a new marketing plan.