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N.Y. dairy product firm eyes Winchester plant

Company applies for bond to acquire former processing facility to create roughly 120 jobs

The former Rich Products Corp. processing plant is being considered by a New York dairy company to open an off-shoot facility, according to the city's Economic Development Authority. Dennis Grundman/Daily
By Alex Bridges - abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- A New York dairy product firm wants to start up an off-shoot in the city -- a move that could bring new jobs and revenue to the area.

Quesos La Ricura Ltd., of Hicksville, N.Y., has applied for a bond through the Winchester Economic Development Authority to acquire and develop the former Rich Products Corp. processing plant at 801 N. Kent St., the group learned at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The initiative would create an estimated 120-125 jobs, according to Jim Deskins, director of economic redevelopment.

"It's a great thing for the city and we're very tickled," Deskins said Tuesday by phone. "We welcome them as a new corporate citizen."

The company filed an application with the authority on Thursday that indicated the firm would invest $9.5 million to establish a new, off-shoot business at the site called Sunshine Pride Dairy Inc., Deskins said.

Negotiations likely started some time before the submittal of the request, he said.

In the application, Sunshine Pride is seeking an industrial revenue bond through the authority for $7,150,000, he said. The money would finance the acquisition and subsequent costs to bring the facility into production, Deskins said.

The firm has a contract to buy the property, he noted.

Buffalo, N.Y.-based Rich Products closed its Winchester facility in 2006 as part of an effort to
consolidate its bakery manufacturing division.

The plant operated since 1972 and employed about 200 workers in June 2005. Winchester Cold Storage had used the facility as a warehouse since the closing.

Quesos La Ricura spokesman Jesus Gutierrez said by phone Tuesday it was too early to comment on the matter.

The firm had not closed on the property, he said, and the EDA had not yet approved the application.

The process to approve the application and issue the bond for the project could take 30 to 60 days, Deskins said. It would be up to the company as to when work on the facility starts and operations commence, he added.

Deskins told the authority that Wachovia Bank is working with the company on its bond application.

The authority's legal counsel and secretary, Michael Bryan, said he had not yet reviewed the application. Bryan described the authority's role as a "conduit issuer" of industrial revenue bonds.

As he explained, if an applicant meets certain qualifications set forth in state code and tax law, then the authority makes a determination whether to issue the bonds.

If they approve the request, he said, the applicant can have bonds issued, the interest on which will not be taxed at the federal and/or state level, depending on how they are structured.

"The net result of this exercise is that a manufacturer such as this, if they meet all the right qualifications and requirements, can borrow money at a lower borrowing cost," Bryan said. "But in order to get the, the authority, as issuer of the bond, the approver of the bond, must give its blessing."

But the move coincides with the EDA's efforts to bring business into the community.

"I can tell you the authority certainly is excited and ... looking forward to working with these folks," Bryan said. "Certainly the authority is supportive of industry coming into the area for the creation of jobs and basically the good of the local economy."

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