EDA approves $60K in sales tax savings as part of $5 million upgrade at Freeze-Dry in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 February 2023 at 9:38 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Thrive Foods, new owner of Freeze-Dry in Albion, is looking to invest $5 million in the site at 111 West Ave.

ALBION – The Orleans Economic Development Agency has approved a sales tax abatement for Thrive Foods, owner of the Freeze-Dry facility at 111 West Ave. in Albion.

The company will get about a $60,000 exemption on the sales tax for building materials and machinery, equipment, fixtures and furnishings that would cost an estimated $747,724.

The EDA board on Jan. 21 approved a sales tax exemption for up to $100,000.

Thrive Foods, the new owner of Freeze-Dry, is planning to spend $5 million at the site in the next two years in a renovation of the 250,000-square-foot building and equipment upgrade.

The company anticipates 45 new jobs after three years.

“This will generate new employment opportunities and attract highly skilled labor to the area,” company said in its EDA application

There are currently 59 workers at the site at an average annual pay of $47,386, with Thrive Foods expecting 29 new jobs in first year of renovation and expansion and 16 more in second year. The new positions would be at an average of $39,000 a year to start, according to the application to the EDA filed by Sebastian Nilsson, CEO of Thrive Foods.

Thrive Foods is planning to optimize existing dryer capacity and add new dryers to boost capacity. The project will increase efficiency and add new capabilities, improve the working environment and renovate interior/exterior of the building, the company said.

The projects at the facility include:

  • renovations to the roof, interior offices, commercial plumbing and paving of parking lot
  • increase refrigeration capacity to increase number of shifts and output
  • upgrade equipment through improved maintenance plan
  • add two additional freeze dryers to improve capacity

The EDA calculated the overall benefit to the county with the facility investments and new employee wages at $7,263,305. With the sales tax abatement at $59,818, the cost to benefit ratio is 17 to 1, according to the EDA.

The Orleans County Legislature also is seeking a $675,000 grant to assist with the expansion and upgrades at Freeze-Dry in Albion. The county is seeking that grant funding from the state Office of Community Renewal. The Orleans Land Restoration Corporation, which is under the EDA umbrella, is assisting the county with the application.