New jobs possible at former Ford Plant

Deal pending with Huhtamaki, Inc.

BATAVIA TWP, Ohio - Clermont County officials hope Christmas comes very early this year.

If it does, it could mean hundreds of new jobs and complete the redevelopment of the former Ford transmission plant in Batavia Township.

A Finnish firm called Huhtamaki is working on a deal to buy half of the 1.8 million square feet in the factory to make drinking cups along with 60 acres of land.

It's offered to pay $7.6 million for the 900,000 square feet, $2 million more than the valuation of the entire facility.

Property renovations and improvements would cost $27 million and another $30 million would be spent on machinery and equipment.

The proposed investment would create 237 full-time jobs within four years at an average annual salary of $35,772.

A tax exemption has been approved by Clermont County on 100 percent of eligible real property improvements for 10 years. That translates to a total of $72,000 exempted with a net benefit to the company of $45,000 once payments to Batavia Schools and creation of two scholarships for high school graduates are deducted.

Tax considerations are pending from the State of Ohio. A hearing has been set on Dec. 10 in Columbus.

If the Huhtamaki deal goes through, it would be a giant boost to Clermont County and the sprawling plant that Ford closed several years ago.

UC Clermont East already occupies the former administration building and has an option to purchase more land.

Global Scrap Management operates with 120,000 square feet of space and has an option on a similar amount of square footage.

Engineered Mobile Solutions is based in a large portion of the building's western half.

Huhtamaki currently has a plant in the Clinton County community of New Vienna. Its status isn't clear if the Clermont County deal is completed.

The firm's U.S. headquarters are in Desoto, Kan. A call there Wednesday seeking comment wasn't returned.

The U.S. subsidiary is part of a global packaging network that makes ice cream containers, cubs, bowls, food containers, Chinet tableware plus paper, cardboard, thermoformed plastic and molded fiber products.

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