***Baby formula company to generate hundreds of jobs
In a $225 million investment, Feihe International Inc., a China-based manufacturer of infant formula, is opening a manufacturing facility in Kingston that is expected to create approximately 200 full-time jobs.
"We were very taken aback by the people of Kingston and by its government, that was a big part of the decision for us coming here; their warmth and love for their community. "¦ We're excited to be a part of that," Roger Hua Liu, vice-chairman and chief financial officer of Feihe International Inc., told the Whig-Standard via Judy Tu, who is vice-president of Feihe International Inc. and was acting as interpreter, following an announcement at City Hall on Thursday afternoon.
"For example, some of our colleagues have moved here. They were looking for places to stay and the kindness of some of the city people who took their own time on a weekend to help us, it made a deep impact on our impression of Kingston."
The approximately 300,000-square-foot plant will be located in the Cataraqui Estates Business Park. It will be Canada's first and only wet infant formula facility and North America's first and only goat milk infant formula manufacturer. Approximately 20 per cent of the company's products will stay in North America, with the rest going to Asia.
Four Feihe representatives have moved their families to Kingston in order to start the planning process. All of the remaining employees will be hired locally. The plan is to break ground next April as the design phase is almost complete. The plant is expected to be fully operational by early winter 2019. Construction of the plant, located on 40 acres across the street from Frulact, is estimated to create 1,000 job opportunities.
"This is one of the biggest economic development deals in our city's history, easily the biggest in several decades," Mayor Bryan Paterson said after the announcement. "The direct impact alone is enormous, but the indirect impact, how this company is going to build up an entire supply chain around it, I think it's going to have a profound effect not only on the city, but the whole region."...***
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I can't stress what a boost this will give to our regional economy. We're a region numbering about 150K people, 56K or so in the city proper. In terms of jobs, we have a large & internationally recognized university, a well regarded college, provincial government, Corrections Canada has a large presence & other than that, a bunch of small to middling businesses. Our local economic development board has been a staggering failure & in recent years has come under a lot of criticism, as has city government.
This is a HUGE score & will go in the same business park as another international company, whose facilities are now under construction - Frulact. They're going to bring about 75 full time jobs. The site is ideal - there's a rail spur connecting directly to our trans-national rail line & the TransCanada highway is a mile or two away.
It's electrifying local news coverage & suddenly, we could be poised to become a new 'center' of big agribusiness. Having a university, (for engineering hires) & a college, (technicians & technologists), right here sure isn't hurting.