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 Glanbia Plans to Build Headquarters and Innovation Center in Idaho  

If you ask him, Glanbia Foods CEO and President Jeff Williams says he isn’t satisfied with operating the largest producer of American-style cheese in the U.S.

He wants do something bigger. But to do that, he needs to move downtown.

The Twin Falls, Idaho, based cheese manufacturer announced its plans to build an up to $15 million corporate headquarters and innovation center in downtown Twin Falls.

The project includes building a three-story, 35,000-square-foot office complex and a 14,000-square foot research center at the former Kruzers Nightlife property in downtown Twin Falls. The buildings are expected to open by March 2013.

The announcement represents a major move forward in downtown revitalization attempts, as the new facilities will keep more Twin Falls workers within blocks of downtown services.

“We’re bringing 100 high-paying jobs downtown,” Williams said. “These are people who go out to lunch and will give business to downtown restaurants and shops.”

Glanbia hired Twin Falls-based Uptown Developers to build the new headquarters and will lease the building from them. According to city documents, the Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency owns the Kruzers property and plans to sell it to the development company within 90 days.

Williams has wanted to build a corporate headquarters in Twin Falls for the past five years. However, he initially had doubts about moving downtown.

“It wasn’t our first choice, but it turned into our best choice,” he said. “We first looked at property near the north end of town, but it just didn’t have the capabilities that this location offers.”

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter attended Friday’s announcement and credited the Magic Valley’s competent leaders as the reason why Glanbia and other businesses like Chobani and LMS Defense want to move into or grow within the area.

“I like coming to Twin Falls,” he said, while speaking briefly at Twin Falls City Council Chambers. “When I’m here, something happy is going on. This is a happy room.”

Glanbia operates plants in Twin Falls, Gooding, Richfield and a joint venture in Clovis, N.M. According to Williams, Glanbia is the largest producer of American-style cheese, holding 19 percent of the industry’s market share.

But the company doesn’t want to stop there. Ideas and products created from the new innovation center will help push how people look at American-style cheese, said David Perry, the company’s director of cheese research and development.

“We have a large export market and we want to expand that,” he said. “This will help us figure out what those markets want.”

The center will rely on customer feedback and will require additional milk from area dairies.

“This is huge for us,” said Edie Nunes, who operates a Buhl dairy. “Most importantly, it says that Glanbia is here to stay and they’re not going anywhere.”

Source: The Times News (Idaho)

Posted on Monday, January 23, 2012 (Archive on Monday, January 30, 2012)
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