On-Cor on tap for recovery bonds for Geneva move

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010 5:30 a.m. CDT

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GENEVA – Kane County officials are getting ready to issue $10.25 million in recovery zone bonds to facilitate On-Cor Frozen Foods’ relocation to Geneva.

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 the county can issue up to $41 million in bonds to stimulate the economy through low-cost, tax-exempt financing.

The proposed bonds are intended to help companies with financing for buying or improving property or for buying equipment. The bonds do not create an obligation for the county or the taxpayers, but will be paid back by On-Cor, officials said.

Sherry DeMeulenaere, treasurer for a limited liability corporation that owns most of On-Cor, said the bonds will pay for equipment used to process frozen foods.

The financing is part of a deal the company is working out with Millard Refrigerated Services, 2088 Geneva Drive, in Geneva’s east side industrial park, she said.

“Millard will be building out its facility 55,000 square feet of production space and we will lease it from them,” DeMeulenaere said. “We have an existing workforce in Chicago and jobs will depend on how many will come out to Geneva. We have 85 jobs downtown and we expect to create another 46.”

The frozen food company will also use storage and dock space from Millard as well, she said.

DeMeulenaere said Millard’s expansion would cost $12 million to $14 million.

“There are a lot of things that need to happen in order for us to get this together,” DeMeulenaere said.

“We have not come to an agreement with Millard and until we do, they are not going to start building. If it all comes together, it will be a very nice thing for everybody.”

Millard officials did not return voicemail messages seeking comment.

Kane County will hold a public hearing on the On-Cor bond-issue at  9:45 a.m. today in the county board room, Kane County Government Center, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva.

Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns said the city is grateful for the county’s support of the recovery zone bonds.

“This is an important economic development initiative,” Burns said. “And we are proud that we can count on them [county officials] to continue to be our partner in providing jobs and opportunities for our community.

“It is a welcomed addition to our industrial park.”

Burns said this is another step in Geneva’s emergence as a food manufacturing and distribution center. On-Cor can package the frozen foods in its processing area, then “10 feet later, put the food in the freezer at Millard.”

Burns said the start of the project is fluid because of all the parts that need to come together, financing being one, then design and engineering for the expansion.

Geneva Economic Development Director Ellen Divita said the city is already home to food-related manufacturing and adding On-Cor is a good way to expand the base.

“We already have in Geneva, Flavors of North America, Roquette America is building a 32,000 square-foot food research and development facility,” Divita said. “They [Roquette] found us because of their relationship to FONA, and On-Cor because of [the] relationship with Millard.”

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