Van Drunen Farms readies for expansion into Crown Point facility

2013-06-08T21:15:00Z 2014-05-15T18:55:15Z Van Drunen Farms readies for expansion into Crown Point facilitySusan Erler, (219) 662-5336

CROWN POINT | Food grower and processor Van Drunen Farms plans to breathe new life into the former Dawn Food Products plant when the company occupies the site within the next year.

Plans are for 26 jobs to be created and $5 million in new equipment to be added by Momence, lll.-based Van Drunen Farms to the property at 1300 E. Summit St., according to an application for tax abatement filed by the company.

The jobs were expected to generate a total annual payroll of $793,200. The new equipment needed in the food-dehydrating process will allow the structure to be used as a food-processing and manufacturing plant.

The City Council, acting on a recommendation from its economic development committee, last week approved the application seeking designation of the parcel as an economic revitalization area and for tax abatement on the equipment.

The council complied with the committee recommendation to scale back to seven years the company's original request for a 10-year abatement.

Tax abatement permits a business to pay an incremental portion of its property taxes for up to 10 years, providing it meets expected levels of employment and salaries.

Resolutions approving the tax abatement and confirming designation of the area for economic revitalization are expected to be considered by the City Council in July.

Van Drunen Farms bought the nearly empty 125,000-square-foot Dawn Food Products plant in December with plans to expand its operation. The purchase price was not disclosed.

The company grows and processes organic and conventional food ingredients for the food industry, according to the company website.

Dawn Food Products, an international supplier of commercial food products for bakery owners and managers, ceased full-scale operation of its Crown Point facility in 2010, after 25 years at the location.

The company in January announced plans to consolidate its Crown Point and Munster operations into one distribution center to be built in Merrillville. Construction began in March.

Dawn Food Products was to continue leasing space in the Crown Point building until October, a company spokesman said earlier. The company still employed 14 in a warehouse area of the plant.

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