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Nestlé Purina PetCare said Monday it will build its first new factory in 45 years in Clermont County that will employ 300 workers.

Construction is set to begin shortly and the $550 million plant will become operational in 2023. It will become the 10th American facility producing dry pet food, including Purina Pro Plan, Purina One and Dog Chow. The Williamsburg Township plant will become the company’s 23rd overall plant in the U.S.

Once completed, the 1.2- million-square-foot facility will be as large as the Kenwood Towne Centre. Ohio and local officials have agreed to provide a package of tax incentives to secure the project, including an Ohio job creation tax credit of $2 million over the next decade.

“Close collaboration between JobsOhio, its local partners and the Development Services Agency were essential to attracting Purina’s newest facility and 300 jobs to Ohio,” said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

Purina’s incentive package includes a state job creation tax credit of 1.714% over 10 years, a sales tax exemption on construction and supply costs from the Port Authority of Clermont County and a 100% local enterprise zone tax exemption from the township and Clermont County, while the Williamsburg school district will receive a payment in lieu of taxes.

“We are grateful for the partnership at the state and local levels, and we’re excited to call Clermont County home,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, president of Purina.

Purina officials said the region’s manufacturing talent and central U.S. location made Clermont a logical choice for the new factory.

“Clermont County is an excellent location for Purina’s newest factory thanks to the region’s distribution opportunities, a workforce with great potential and strong community values,” said Nolan Terry, vice president of manufacturing for Purina.

Officials with the Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Cincinnati said the project is one of the largest investments by a company moving new operations to the region in more than five years.

“Nestlé Purina Petcare is an incredibly welcome addition to the Cincinnati region’s food manufacturing,” said Kimm Lauterbach, REDI Cincinnati president, noting the 300 food and flavoring companies with operations in the area.

The plant will be in the South Afton Industrial Park. The facility will use robotics and innovative digital tools and feature a training center to promote learning and development. Purina paid $6.95 million for the land earlier this month, Clermont County Auditor’s Office records show.

“Clermont County will recoup its initial investment in South Afton. This is a win for Clermont County government, the Williamsburg area, Nestlé Purina and the residents of Clermont County,” said David Painter, president of Clermont County Board of Commissioners.

Purina said the factory will fully staffed by 2024 and the jobs will include professional staff, production operators, technical staff and engineers.

The project is the second new factory Purina has announced in 2020 after the company announced last month it would convert a former brewery into a factory in North Carolina.

Overall, Nestlé employs 3,300 people in Ohio. It has operations in Solon, Marysville, Cleveland, Brecksville and Zanesville.

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