Published in Food/Agribusiness
Frozen food processor plans $205M expansion, up to 198 new jobs in Holland Twp. COURTESY RENDERING

Frozen food processor plans $205M expansion, up to 198 new jobs in Holland Twp.

BY Tuesday, October 26, 2021 11:42am

HOLLAND TWP. — Frozen food processor Request Foods Inc. is planning a $205 million expansion in an effort to meet rising demand while diversifying its products and services.

The Michigan Strategic Fund board approved an incentive package today that defrays more than $10 million in costs associated with the expansion. The company, headquartered at 3460 John F. Donnelly Drive in Holland Township, expects to create up to 198 jobs.

“Michigan is the second-most diverse agricultural state in America — anytime we can retain the food processing for our great Michigan farmers right here in the state is a tremendous win,” Quentin Messer Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, said in a call with reporters before this morning’s MSF board meeting.

“We need to make sure we have a diversified economy,” Messer added. “Agribusiness is a big part of that, and this allows us to continue to be competitive in this vital sector.”

The transformational expansion features four components, including an $81 million expansion planned for Request Foods’ existing 300,000-square-foot facility located at 12875 Greenly St. The facility was constructed in 2011 as the company’s second production plant. The new expansion will add further manufacturing capacity for family-sized and bulk meal production, opening up an expected 110 new positions.

Request Foods also plans to expand its warehousing capabilities with 157,000 square feet of additional cold storage space, with the potential for an additional 100,000 square feet. The space will store finished product, and the company hopes to make it available by the third quarter of 2022. The warehousing portion of the expansion will cost around $43 million.

The company is also planning a new production plant for ready-to-eat (RTE) meals. Request Foods is currently assessing its needs for the project, but it plans to lease an existing warehouse space on a nearby parcel.

To create the RTE facility, Request Foods would renovate the existing warehouse space and construct a production facility to go along with it. This amounts to $35 million in equipment and machinery in addition to the $39 million for construction.

The company also plans to invest $7 million into expanding and upgrading its wastewater treatment system that was constructed in 2011.

“I think there is going to be tremendous opportunity (in food processing),” Messer said. “I think as we see more desire for farm-to-table, the tremendous diversity of our agriculture sector positions us incredibly well. As we see challenges with the supply chain and shortages with trucking, the opportunity for us to process food in Michigan — closer to the source of farming — positions us well. If done properly, this could be the start of other similar projects.”

Competing incentives

At its monthly meeting today, the MSF board approved several incentives for Request Foods. This includes a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program (MBDP) grant along with a $6.9 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) requested by Holland Township, which will help defray costs for equipment and machinery.

Request Foods was also approved for a 50 percent Alternative State Essential Services Assessment Exemption (ASESA) for up to five years, which is valued at $1.6 million. Additionally, the state will create a 15-year Agricultural Processing Renaissance Zone (APRZ) for the new RTE facility.

The incentives were approved as economic developers in South Carolina were also courting Request Foods, according to a memo from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

South Carolina officials offered an unspecified incentive package to locate the expansion in one of two available locations in Greenville, S.C.

Request Foods has steadily expanded since the company was founded in 1989. The company currently holds 58 acres of total land throughout the Holland area. Request Foods is classified as a Tier 1 frozen food processor and employs 900 people.

Food processing manufacturing currently contributes more than $1.5 billion each year to the West Michigan economy, according to the MEDC. Request Foods alone spends around $51 million in Michigan-based agriculture commodities and logistics.

“By securing this project in Holland Charter Township and beating out our competition in South Carolina, Michigan will remain a distinct competitor in the food production industry while creating continued prosperity for working families throughout the region,” Messer said.

Read 2460 times Last modified on Tuesday, 26 October 2021 13:41