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Ingredients listed for Reser's $18 million plant

After Beaverton-based Reser’s Fine Foods announced July 7 that it planned to build a new $18 million, 310,000-square-foot food-processing plant in Hillsboro, speculation ran high.

The information from Reser’s was light on details, saying only that the new facility would allow a 35 percent increase in capacity and all production would move to Hillsboro, with administrative staff staying in Beaverton at 15570 S.W. Jenkins Road.

The fresh food company, founded in 1950, is best known for its packaged potato salad and salsa.

After the announcement, the privately held company would not provide further details or interviews. Where was it being built? How much would it cost? How many new jobs might there be?

A hefty document filed with Hillsboro’s Planning Department revealed many of the answers. The undeveloped 30-acre lot north of Jacobsen Road, south of Northwest Pubols Road and west of Northwest Century Boulevard, is zoned for industrial development. Reser’s is pushing to begin construction soon. According to a June 19 note in the development file, “the project is under time pressures to break ground at the beginning of July.” Completion is expected in fall 2015.

Reser’s has applied to be part of Hillsboro’s North Industrial Enterprize Zone, said Patrick Preston, Hillsboro’s public affairs manager.

If approved, the company could receive up to five years of tax exemptions on new buildings and newly installed machinery. In return, Reser’s would need to meet a variety of targets, including increasing full-time, permanent employment by 10 percent; paying hourly wages of at least 200 percent of the minimum wage; and guaranteeing no job losses within 30 miles of the enterprise zone.

More than 20 businesses already participate in the program, said Preston, including SolarWorld.

The application was not released and has not yet been approved. Reser’s would not allow its release, and the city considers it a “trade secret,” said Preston. There is no announced timeline for approval.

The proposed 310,000-square-foot plant would have a 115,440-square-foot food processing area, a 165,641-square-foot cold storage and dry goods section, a 15,538-square-foot office and employee services area and 12,508 square feet of ancillary sections (ammonia plant and hallways).

The plant is expected to provide about 333 jobs in the offseason, October to April, to more than 350 during the high season, May to September. The parking lots include 379 spaces.

Reser’s has 16 facilities in the U.S. and Mexico, and the company employs 4,800 in the United States, Mexico and Canada. In fall 2011, Reser’s purchased food brand Vaughn Foods for $18.25 million, as well as Orval Kent and its parent company, Chef Solutions, for $69.2 million. The total was $87.45 million.

Mistral Capital Management, a New York equity firm, provided $36.4 million in cash and $25.3 million in secured debt for the purchases. At the time, it was reported that Reser’s had $1 billion in revenue.

Washington County commissioners voted Tuesday to consider sunsetting the 20 percent discount developers receive on the transportation development tax. If it goes forward, the discount would disappear in late September. The tax assessment of the property on which Reser’s plans to build is listed in the February 2014 document as $779,285, but the building permit hasn’t been issued.

The permit applicant is Development Services of America in Scottsdale, Ariz., a commercial real estate development and management company specializing in building food distribution and warehouse facilities. It has 3.4 million square feet of space under management in western states and Alaska.

The project manager is Jessica Lucas of Portland’s CIDA (Commercial Industrial Design Group), an architectural, structural and project management firm. Also involved are Beaverton firms AAI Engineering and R&W Engineering.



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