Company wants to expand, create 120 new jobs in West Chester

A company with two facilities in West Chester is looking to expand one of them and add scores of new jobs.

SugarCreek Packing plans to create 120 new full-time positions with an expansion project. It has has applied for a tax exemption under the Ohio Enterprise Zone Program.

Township trustees Tuesday evening unanimously approved recommendation of an Enterprise Zone Agreement for SugarCreek, which was founded in 1966 as a packager of raw bacon.

More than half a century later, the company has grown into a and flexible food manufacturer with six major facilities, including two in West Chester Twp. at 4585 Muhlhauser Road and 4235 Thunderbird Lane.

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Due to expanded business, SugarCreek is considering expansion possibilities at its Thunderbird Lane location, which would involve constructing a new, 15,000-square-foot addition.

The company also is proposing to spend $32 million to modify warehouse space to production lines.

“By keeping SugarCreek’s manufacturing and office, West Chester would retain 386 full-time positions, as well as the additional 120 new positions,” said Township Administrator Larry Burks.

The 120 new positions will have an average salary of $35,360, township officials said.

Personnel are located in several locations throughout the Tri-State area. SugarCreek desires to consolidate those operations.

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West Chester Enterprise Zone Committee met last month to review the proposed project, Burks said. The committee recommended consideration of a 50 percent tax exemption on new real property investment for five years, he said.

SugarCreek had options in other areas, “so it’s important we keep the existing businesses that are growing in West Chester,” Burks said. “This is one of the best ways to do that.”

Out of more than 3,500 businesses operating in West Chester Twp., there are seven active enterprise zone agreements. One with SugarCreek would be the eighth.

The case was heard at the state level in January. The township’s recommendation will be presented to Butler County Commissioners for final consideration.

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“When a corporation comes into the township and literally builds a facility, they’re not renting, they’re building, they’re owning. They have put a stake in our community, they have become a stakeholders,” said Trustee Mark Welch. “This is a win-win situation.”

That’s because after the five-year abatement expires, the property will be taxed at a higher rate, “because it’s a better, bigger piece of property,” according to Trustee Ann Becker.

The township derives its revenue primarily from property taxes.

“For a corporation to … say, ‘We want to do this in West Chester and oh, by the way, we’re going to bring more jobs,’ that’s really significant,” Welch said.

SUGAR CREEK Project Investment

Total Investment: $36M

Total New Real Property Investment (minimum): $4M

New Machinery, Equipment and Building modifications: $32M

Existing West Chester Employees: 386

New Full-Time Permanent Positions: 120

Average Annual Salary of New Positions: $35,360

Total Average Payroll of New Positions: $4.243,200

Total Employment with Expansion: 506

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