State ready to assists with Refresco upgrades

New York state is assisting in Refresco’s purchase of the former Kraft facility in Dunkirk on Talcott Street.

State Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday praised the company for expanding its warehousing and distribution capabilities, thanks to $500,000 in performance-based tax credits and a $500,000 Regional Economic Development Council Capital Grant. The project will support the existing 350 full-time jobs and create an additional 10 full-time jobs over the next five years, providing competitive salaries and benefits.

“By creating and supporting good jobs in Chautauqua County, Refresco’s expansion will build on the company’s long-standing role as a critical part of the region’s economy,” Hochul said. “My administration will continue to support important projects like this that invest in the future of New York and help lay the foundation for economic growth for generations to come.”

Refresco is the global independent beverage solutions provider for Global, National and Emerging brands, and retailers with production in Europe, North America, and Australia, and has over 13,000 employees globally. It produces and bottles fruit and vegetable juices, mineral water, iced tea, sports drinks and carbonated beverages, for a total of almost 15 billion liters annually.

The company purchased the long-vacant Kraft and ConAgra building, located at 26 East Talcott Street, from the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency. Built in 1960, the three-story industrial food production facility includes a large warehouse space, office space, cold storage, a tank room, loading docks, and four rail sidings.

The company will spend approximately $13 million to renovate the interior of the 243,800-square-foot manufacturing building to operate the facility for warehouse and distribution. In order to encourage Refresco Beverages to proceed with its expansion, ESD has offered up to $500,000 in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits and a $500,000 Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Capital Grant in exchange for job creation and capital investment commitments.

Refresco’s expansion in Dunkirk follows a series of recent investments by Hochul to boost the city’s manufacturing sector, expand economic opportunity, and create good jobs. Last month, Hochul announced the expansion of Wells Enterprises’ ice cream plant, which will create 200 new jobs for the production of ice cream and frozen novelty products and retain more than 400 jobs from the plant’s existing Dunkirk facility. Earlier this year, the Governor also awarded $10 million to the City of Dunkirk as the Western New York winner of New York’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative to transform downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers of activity that attract businesses, jobs, and economic and housing diversity.

“The city of Dunkirk appreciates the commitment by Refresco Beverages to expand its operations and commitment to our city,” said Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas. “We appreciate too Gov. Kathy Hochul’s efforts and the efforts of her Western New York Economic Development team to keep and expand employment opportunities in our community. Refresco continues a long tradition of our city having national and international businesses producing quality food products. The company’s investment and reuse of the one-time Kraft and ConAgra facility on Talcott, coupled with the Wells Ice Cream expansion plans, helps ensure that our city’s place in the ‘food production pyramid’ remains secure for a new generation.”

Mark Geise, CEO of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) and Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, said, “We worked long and hard with Refresco to make this project a reality. The CCIDA took ownership of the former Conagra facility almost a decade ago, and it has been cared for but underutilized since. It only made sense that Refresco should assume ownership of the facility in order to expand their campus and improve their system efficiencies. The CCIDA worked with Refresco, along with Empire State Development and the City of Dunkirk, for almost two years and provided incentives to bring this project to fruition. It is just another example of collaboration, and signifies that manufacturing, especially our food and beverage sector, are alive and well in Chautauqua County. I’m thrilled that the CCIDA could play a key role in facilitating investment in this large building, while creating jobs, in order to improve the quality of life for Chautauqua County Businesses and Residents.”


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