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July 6, 2017 - 2:09pm

HP Hood closes deal to acquire former Muller Quaker plant

One of the Northeast's largest dairy producers now officially has a footprint in Batavia.

HP Hood, based in Lynnfield, Mass., closed on the deed to the former Muller Quaker Dairy plant on Friday, paying $54,216,000 to Dairy Famers of America for the facility.

DFA acquired the property from Muller Quaker in December 2015 for $60 million.

As part of the deal, Hood agreed to take over the obligations of Muller Quaker for the property, which includes making payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) along with paying a variety of fees to Genesee County Economic Development Center.

The GCEDC board has yet to improve a new PILOT agreement for the 363,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art milk processing facility, but is considering providing Hood with more than $7 million in tax abatements over 10 years, with an anticipated total economic benefit to the region of more than $330 million.

Hood will pay GCEDC $1.7 in annual installments of $280,000 over six years, starting with an initial payment delivered Friday at closing.

There is also an annual $1,000 administration fee and a $5,000 annual property maintenance fee to assist with maintenance of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, where the plant is located (next to the Genesee County Fairgrounds on Route 5).

Hood is reportedly planning to add a 100,000-square-foot warehouse to what is already the largest dairy processing facility in the United States.

The plant cost PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group $206 million and Hood is planning to invest significantly more into the plant. Reconfiguring the plant from one that made just Quaker Muller's own take on Greek yogurt and adding the warehouse will create more than 500 construction jobs with a payroll of $26 million. 

While Muller Quaker topped out at 162 jobs created, Hood promises 250 jobs at the plant, with an average annual salary of $47,000.

Hood plans to begin construction this summer and be operational by the first quarter of 2019.

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