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Final approvals in place for 'Project Wave' to begin construction

When an as-yet-unnamed company breaks ground on a development project Wednesday morning, it could mean as many as 600 new jobs in Batavia some day, and it will mark the end of a 15-day sprint to get the project pushed through the local and state regulatory process.

At the end of Tuesday's Town of Batavia Planning Board meeting, where a site plan and a change in the parcel map were approved, Chris Souzzi, VP of business development for GCEDC, said the swiftness of the approval process proves why shovel-ready business parks are so important.

"We can see now why we need these parks," Souzzi said. "Here we have a company that wants to build this fast, and in 15 days, you (the planning board) just approved a site plan. That's huge and that's why they're here."

Michael Wheeler, representing "Project Wave," as the secretive food-processing development is known, said the fact that the nine-month-long environmental review process had already been completed for the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, plus the review was a spot-on match for the kind of site contemplated in Project Wave, were huge factors in the client picking Batavia.

That said, not much is in writing yet.

The company has yet to close escrow on the 81-acre parcel and land in Avon and two already graded parcels in Pennsylvania are still, at least marginally, in the running for the big plant.

And the plant is big. In phase one, it will exceed 300,000 square feet, and if built out fully will have a 120-foot high cold storage tower (modeled after a similar automated storage tower owned by Wegmans near the airport in Rochester).

On day one, if it opens on schedule in January or February of 2013, the facility will employ 180 people and operate three production lines. At full build-out, the plant will employ 600 people on 16 production lines, all working in three daily shifts.

Grading and foundation preparation work begins at Wednesday morning and the unnamed company wants to see work completed by the end of December, according to Wheeler.

"At that point, it just gets so miserably cold up here that us Southerners can’t work any more," said Wheeler, who lives in Florida.

The company isn't scheduled to take possession of the property until the fall of 2012, when it will start moving in its production equipment.

UPDATED to add a picture I forgot to post last night of Mike Wheeler, left, and Paul Marchese.

tim raines
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Project Wave > Deans Foods Whitewave.

Don't tell anyone......it's a secret.

Thomas Mooney
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Why would we need souther contractors to do the work . Obviously us Northerners could do it and with much better Quality . So is this new company going to hire Southerners also to work at the plant when built .

Bea McManis
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My exact thought when I read it.
First, the company will bring in their own contractor to do the work - doesn't sound as if they will hire local labor.
Second, any company that comes in as a start up is not going to hire management (read that as good paychecks) from the local pool of qualified people. These jobs will be relocated.
If I were younger, I'd be jumping at the chance to get in on QA there. I doubt they will hire QA or any regulatory functions locally.
That said, I hope that the projected job openings are offered to local folk.

Bryant Tyson
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Can't help but wounder how far South there workers are from?

Bea McManis
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Tim, it would be a good fit.

John Roach
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Thomas,
Just speculating, but the unnamed company might have a contract with a southern company for all its construction work.

Thomas Mooney
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John , Thats not a good sign if thats the case . There should be some more info out there as to who is coming and as the public should know . If it were a company with shady practices , would everyone be as excited ? I dont think that is the case because most of us know it is Dean foods White Wave . I do see all the top jobs at the plant going to currant employees and the grunt work labors will be local , but they are jobs, and better than what we have now . I hope this is good for the community as beefed up to be

Billie Owens
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Which one of you looked into the crystal ball and saw Dean's Foods WhiteWave coming to Batavia? Just because someone tosses you a ball, doesn't mean you gotta run with it. You might just get ahead of yourselves and look stoopid later.

Mike Weaver
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LOL at stoopid. Very nice.

Thomas Mooney
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Billie , stupid is beleiving that this company will be better for cummunity without knowing who they are and what they make. It is not hard figure out that its Dean foods and The White Wave . They have the Wave right on the employee entarance on the plans . You name another food and beverage company that uses the Wave has a marketing tool and trade mark . There isn't one that I know of . If I am wrong as with the many others who think it is Dean Foods , who cares . We want to know and the longer they hold the info , the more people will speculate and talk about it , and that may be bad or good .

Occidental Chemical Company is coming to Batavia, would that raise eyebrows , that is why it is important to know who it is and what they are about .

Mark Potwora
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Is were they are building on top of the aquafilter that feeds the sand wash....Why the big secret...Has there been public hearing on the variances given to them....To have all this rushing things though and the secrecy has two raise an eye brow or two..I am glad to see new jobs coming here but lets be more out in the open....Also lets make sure its our local company's building these plants..They want our tax breaks.Use our labor to build...What is the package they are getting...PILOT...Tom is right it is important to know who it is and what they are about........Who would want a 120-foot high cold storage tower in their back yard..You would think the neighborhood on Haven Lane would have some kind of say on that.....

Billie Owens
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I agree that all the hush-hush about the mystery company is not good. It breeds cynical speculation. I think transparency is healthy most of the time. You are all right about the need to know and soon enough you will. I also think the concessions for them should be made plain as well as their intentions about providing local labor. Enough about Deans Foods already.

Thomas Mooney
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Why enough about Dean foods , I don't get it . It has people talking and commenting on this site , so it's good for the Batavian ,right . Whats the deal? Do you know something? you make it sound as if it is not Dean Foods .

Phil Ricci
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What I love is how people are making a controversy of a company, regardless if it's secret or not, that want to build a plant here.

Uh...go ahead, use your southern contractors, who by the way will stay in our hotels and eat at our restaurants while they're here, bring in your other managers, who by the way will buy or build homes in our communities and spend their money, and then hire from our local workforce. So...maybe they'll only create 150 jobs day one and 500 overall...

I'm sorry...what's the problem?

Lorna Klotzbach
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Hmmm, why the big amount of secrecy? If they have to rush, rush, rush the approval process I would suspect that it is because they know that if people had time to look at what their project entails, the public might protest! We need jobs here in this area, but we don't need to squander our own resources to get them. What about using some of our area's hard-earned tax dollars to promote what we already do well? To utilize our own natural resources? Why must our local tax dollars be sent to consultants, out-of-region companies, and foreign businesses rather than be given out to local businesses? Why are the unfair competetive advantages given to outside businesses rather than to local firms that want to expand? Can the approval processes be "rushed through in 15 days" for local businesses, too? Has anyone looked into how much money the county, and subsequently the towns, will lose if the GCEDC or whatever agency is negotiating the PILOT chooses to waive all of the sales taxes on construction costs? That is a real possibility and the local municipalities should weigh that into their approval calculations. Will the supposed creation of jobs sometime in the future offset the loss of all of that construction sales tax revenue?

John Roach
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It 's not uncommon for companies to have contracts with other companies for construction. Many times the jobs are then sub contracted.
It's also common for companies to place current management, or promotable people into new plants. Duh, they know the business.
While this might not even happen since there are other locations in the running, if this company management is reading this site and seeing the whining about it already, why would they come here?
How amny times have people said we need jobs, and now we bitch?

RICHARD L. HALE
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Something comes to mind about "Never Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth"......(and by no means, put your fingers in his/her mouth)

Mike Weaver
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Hmmm.. what was that about Batavia's only problem being negativity?

Bob Price
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People piss and moan about no jobs no jobs-then we have a a very large company interested in building a modern plant,warehouse,and storage facility-and we're all picking it apart,why the secrecy,etc. etc.People of Genesee County-we should be THANKING any business that wants to locate here,especially in NYS. Keep it up all you naysayers,this company will tell the county to eff off,and locate somewhere else that will actually welcome them.

Frank Bartholomew
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Howard, If the company is reading this site, more of us who welcome this boost to the local economy should be posting. I spent the better part of 30 years working in the food and beverage industry, both in production and distribution, so when I see news like this, I say "Welcome to Batavia" mystery company.

Jill Halpin
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I think this is great for Batavia and I say welcome! We should be doing whatever we can to show the company that this is the place to be and what an great town Batavia is. Let's stay positive and make a great impression!

tim raines
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Real Southerners don't drink Pepsi.

Lorna Klotzbach
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I agree with that our area needs jobs! I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth...but a free horse is never cheap. One has to feed it, dispose of its vast amounts of urine and feces, buy it bedding, get it vaccinated every year, have its feet trimmed or shod every 6 to 8 weeks. In other words, there is no such thing as a "free" horse! Where is the milk going to come from to feed this newest yogurt plant? Residents of Genesee county should look at the activities of the GCEDC, which is funded by their own tax dollars, as I have done for the past 4-5 years. They are currently, ACTIVELY, promoting activities which will kill that agricultural industries which our county is suited for. We are within 10-12 hours of a large part of the U.S. population centers which need to eat. If agriculture is choked to death in our county, how long will these agribusinesses that we are recruiting from overseas stay here? Will they begin to import raw materials from Canada...China instead of from down the road? How is that "green?" How is that good for our economy? We should be using what God and history gave us in Genesee County and our tax-supported agencies should be supporting that, not killing it!

Brenda Gill
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Maybe not but I suppose I will now will @ least in public.

Wonder if I'll have to do a Coke run in to Roc City.
Find a safe place in my cellarto stash it, lol.

20+ years ago when I was in Tennessee I would beg the waitress for a Coke and she always just rolled her eyes and muttered dy under her breath. So glad when I finally made it to Georgia.

Here's to the start of something big for us in Genesee county in a good way may, Americans never get tired of yogurt !

Billie Owens
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I'm a big fan of nonfat Greek yogurt, especially Dannon's ("Oikos"), but also the one from Chobani. And I like the organic goat's milk yogurt they carry in the organic fridge section at Tops. If you haven't tried either of these, do so. And when I can buy Alpina yogurt I'm sure I'll enjoy it, too! Ditto Pepsi's new product.

Charlie Mallow
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Billie, I just love it, maybe you haven't tried a good flavor? Blueberry is the best.

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