GLENVILLE -- Belgioioso Cheese won final town approvals Monday to go forward with construction of a $25 million cheese plant in the Glenville Business and Technology Park that is expected to create nearly 50 new jobs.
The Glenville Planning and Zoning Commission gave final site plan approval for the 96,000-square-foot plant where the Wisconsin-based company will manufacture its specialty Italian cheeses. The plant will be located on a 40-acre site within the park on Route 5 west of Scotia.
"This was a key step," said Ray Gillen, chairman of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, which does economic development marketing for the county. "We had great cooperation from the town. It's a large national company with great products."
Empire State Development and local officials announced plans for Belgioioso to come to Glenville in April 2018, and since then county officials have cited landing the plant as a much economic development accomplishment.
The national cheese manufacturer, based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, already has a facility in Schenectady, at the former Cappiello cheese plant on Broadway in Schenectady. About 46 jobs will be created at the new plant once it opens.
"This is a huge benefit to the town and the county, a $25 million plant is a huge investment, and at least 50 jobs, good high-paying jobs," said Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle. "We're very pleased."
Town officials hope to see activity on the site by April, Koetzle said. Gillen said the approval will let the company move to final building design, but the company hasn't provided a construction schedule.
The plant will be built on 40 acres the company is buying from Metroplex 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 during and after World War II. "This will put the property back on the tax rolls for the first time since World War II," Gillen said.
Among incentives, the company is receiving $850,000 in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program credits, Empire State Development said last year. 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 the bill rising each year until it is paying 100 percent after 10 years.
The plant will also create a new market for milk at a time when dairy farmers have been struggling with low milk prices, Gillen said. The company, which is privately owned, hasn't said how much milk it expects to buy.
BelGioioso was founded in 1979 as a specialty producer of all-natural Italian cheeses. Belgioioso operates nine plants, making fresh mozzarella and about 30 other cheese varieties. All the other plants are in Wisconsin.
The plant's processing water will come from the town of Glenville, which has wells that tap the Great Flats Aquifer. Its sewer connection will be to the village of Scotia, which contracts with the Schenectady city sewage plant for treatment. Koetzle said the waste will be treated onsite to remove many of the solids in cheesemaking waste.
If the plant is successful, Gillen said he hopes it will attract additional food industry companies to Schenectady.