Koch Foods plans 400K-square-foot expansion, adding hundreds of new jobs in Fairfield

Koch Foods in Fairfield plans to expand its facility by adding three new production lines over two phases. The company plans to invest $220 million in building construction and the purchase of machinery and equipment. FILE PHOTO
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Koch Foods in Fairfield plans to expand its facility by adding three new production lines over two phases. The company plans to invest $220 million in building construction and the purchase of machinery and equipment. FILE PHOTO

Fairfield’s largest industrial business plans create at least 400 new jobs as it plans to build a new 400,000-square-foot addition just north of its Port Union location, according to plans submitted to the city and Butler County.

The company will ask Fairfield City Council on Monday for a tax break on the project, according to city documents. The city is ready to offer Koch Foods at 4100 Port Union Road a 75 percent tax exemption for real property improvements over a 10-year period, according to the proposed tax deal with the city.

“Should this project proceed, the total building investment for the expansion is estimated at $140 million,” said Fairfield Economic Development Manager Nathaniel Kaelin in a staff report. “The company also estimates an investment of $80 million in new machinery and equipment.”

As part of the deal, Koch Foods will retain its existing 1,190 full-time employees and will create 400 new full-time jobs within three years of completing the building, which completion is anticipated by December 2022. The project will begin in earnest on Oct. 1, though the company has been clearing the topographically challenged land to the north of its Port Union facility.

The company said they’d were requesting the expansion in Fairfield was it was the preferred option as “(the) chicken industry is very competitive with low margins,” according to its application for a tax break. Officials said they were “getting competitive quotes from three to four other states,” according to the document.

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The 402,140 square-foot expansion would allow the company to add two production lines, bringing its total number of production lines to nine. This phase of the expansion would make Koch Foods the city’s second-largest business behind Cincinnati Financial.

The company could eventually add a third production line, according to city documents, which would result in 200 more jobs being created.

Koch Foods is headquartered in Chicago and has manufacturing facilities in Alabama, Illinois, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Its Fairfield operations opened in 1999 and is the city’s largest industrial employer and largest water and sewer customer.