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Rosina plans to add 40 jobs with $58 million expansion

Rosina Food Products is planning to build a plant in West Seneca to make frozen meatballs, sausage and toppings as part of a $58 million expansion that is expected to create 40 new jobs.

The factory at an abandoned railroad yard at 3100 Clinton St. will shift some of the company's frozen meat production from an aging meatball processing line now located in Cheektowaga and bring in additional work now outsourced to a meat packer in Chicago.

The new facility will allow Rosina to double the production of the aging line that will be shut down in Cheektowaga. The expansion also will allow Rosina to bring two-thirds of the production now done by a company in Chicago to the West Seneca factory.

Rosina is seeking $1.65 million in sales and mortgage tax breaks from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, along with an unspecified amount of property tax incentives that likely would greatly increase the value of the tax subsidies.

Without the tax breaks, Rosina said it would not be financially feasible to build the West Seneca factory. If the local factory isn't built, Rosina said it would have to shut down the Cheektowaga processing line, which is no longer competitive and shift that work to the Chicago company, which currently produces about a third of Rosina's meatball products and has excess capacity at its factories.

If the West Seneca project isn't done, it would result in the loss of about 100 jobs at the Cheektowaga factory at 75 Industrial Parkway, the company said.

"The $58 million capital project is financially challenging," the company said in its application for tax breaks. "This is Phase 1 of a potentially multi-phased master plan to keep Rosina a viable business ingrained in Western New York."

Rosina executives said they hope to start work on the project in October and be ready to move into the new facility at the beginning of 2021.

The company, co-owned by Russell and Frank Corigliano, was awarded $1 million in grant funding from Empire State Development as part of the regional economic development incentive program. Rosina also is eligible to receive $1 million in tax credits, spread over 10 years, through the Excelsior Job program if the company meets its job targets.

The project would result in the construction of a 105,000-square-foot protein plant on a 36-acre brownfield site. The site is a former railroad yard that has been vacant since the 1960s. Environmental studies indicate that the site has some low-level surface contamination. The location has been accepted into the state's Brownfield Cleanup Program.

Under the Brownfield Cleanup Program, the company could receive a tax credit equal to half of its cleanup costs and a 20% tax credit for qualified investments in the property.

The Clinton Street site is next to another Rosina plant that makes pasta and entrees.

The new meatball plant will be able to produce 40 million pounds of meatballs, sliced sausage and toppings annually, double the capacity of the Cheektowaga facility. The project also would allow Rosina to shift production of another 10 million pounds of products it now outsources to the Chicago company to the local factory.

The 40 new jobs are expected to pay an average of $38,600 a year, while the 100 existing jobs that will be retained pay an average of $34,000 a year, the company said.

The IDA will hold a hearing on the project at 9 a.m. on Aug. 20 at the West Seneca Community Center and Library, at 1300 Union Road.

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