Cincinnati Enquirer today: ‘NEW JOBS, BUSINESS: BATAVIA FORD SITE GETS 237 JOBS’ ~ GOVERNOR TO CUT HUHTAMAKI RIBBON. Lead story in Business section, Page A7, with jump page (part two of the story) on Page A8.

Link to online version of Cincinnati Enquirer story today on Huhtamaki

Official Press Release: Huhtamaki of Finland finalizes at Ford Batavia – Semarjian, Lichter Team from Industrial Commerce Ltd. (Cleveland) and Industrial Realty Group (IRG) land Huhtamaki, 300+ Jobs at Ford Batavia

PDF of pages: The Cincinnati Enquirer, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, Pages A7, A8

banner headline Huhtamaki at Ford Batavia courtesy Industrial Commerce Ltd. Chris Semarjian and Industrial Realty Group IRG Stu Lichter

Huhtamaki at Ford Batavia courtesy Industrial Commercer Ltd. of Cleveland Chris Semarjian and Industrial Realty Group IRG Stu Lichter PR by Andy Hemmer

Huhtamaki story, Cincinnati Enquirer today, Business section, Page A7

Huhtamaki story, Cincinnati Enquirer today, Business section, Page A8

Huhtamaki story, Cincinnati Enquirer today, Business section, Page A8

NEW JOBS, BUSINESS: BATAVIA FORD GETS 237 JOBS ~ GOVERNOR TO CUT HUHTAMAKI RIBBON

By Cindi Andrews

candrews@enquirer.com

Ohio Gov. John Kasich will welcome Finnish manufacturer Huhtamaki to Clermont County today, speaking at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the former Ford Batavia Transmission plant.

Huhtamaki, a global leader in food packaging and tableware, will invest $64.6 million over the next several years to turn half of the 1.8 million-square-foot into a state-of-the-art manufacturing and distribution center, company officials say. The move will leave the former Ford plant two-third occupied.

Huhtamaki expects to create at least 237 jobs in Clermont, with production starting by year’s end.

Kasich’s last visit to Clermont was almost exactly a year ago, when he attended the ribbon-cutting for a Global Scrap Metal facility, also located at the former Ford plant. That company added 40 jobs.

Huhtamaki, whose products include Chinet, will make paper cups. New product lines may be added later. Huhtamaki North America, headquartered in Kansas, employs 3,300 people at 17 manufacturing locations.

The move is good news for Clermont County. Even though its 6.3 percent unemployment rate is lower than the state average, it has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs in recent years. The former Ford plant alone employed 1,700 before closing in 2008.

Huhtamaki’s arrival “means jobs as well as redeploying stagnant real estate,” County Commissioner David Uible said.

“The Huhtamaki investment in Clermont County just demonstrates our county’s good value and many opportunities for real estate, and our great access to qualified and educated employees,” Uible said.

The company paid $7.6 million to buy 900,000 square feet of the facility and 60 acres. The Clermont County commissioners agreed to a 10-year tax exemption on $3 million of the property’s value.

The seller was the team of Cleveland-based Industrial Commerce Ltd. and Los Angeles based-Industrial Realty Group, which have partnered on similar projects in Dayton, Kettering, Akron and elsewhere in Ohio.

Industrial Commerce and Industrial Realty Group bought the 230-acre property from Ford for $3.5 million in 2010 and then renovated the automaker’s office space for the University of Cincinnati’s East Campus. Since then they have attracted Global Scrap Metal and another small operation, Engineered Mobile Solutions.

The addition of Huhtamaki leaves just 600,000 square feet of the former plant left to fill, according to Dean Miller, vice president of development.

He said he has several prospects, and the space gets easier to sell the more full it gets, he said.

“Now that it’s coming together, (prospects) can see how it can turn into more of an industrial park environment,” Miller said.

The remaining space in the building can be used for warehousing of manufacturing, he said. It comes equipped with costly infrastructure for heavy manufacturing uses.

Dean Miller with IRG Ohio, left, and Ed Humphrey, President of the Clermont County Board of Commissioners.

Dean Miller with IRG Ohio, left, and Ed Humphrey, President of the Clermont County Board of Commissioners.

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