Darigold to expand plant in Sunnyside, add 25 jobs

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SUNNYSIDE -- Darigold plans to spend about $22 million to expand its plant in Sunnyside, spurred in part by the Port of Sunnyside's plan to build a $6 million pre-treatment wastewater facility.

The port received an $850,000 loan and a $150,000 grant from the state Community Economic Revitalization Board for the project, the state Department of Commerce announced Friday. A combination of local, county and federal money will fund the remaining cost.

Darigold isn't revealing much about the expansion. Senior Vice President Steven Rowe declined to comment when contacted by phone Friday.

The private dairy production company, with about $2.5 billion in revenue last year, received a half-million dollar tax break from the Legislature, saying it is considering building an infant-formula plant. However, it can't go forward if formula exported from the state is subject to the state business-and-occupation tax.

The Port of Sunnyside's pre-treatment facility will have a new anaerobic system that will double the discharge capacity for one of its wastewater units, said Jed Crowther, the port's property development and project manager.

That will better accommodate the Seattle-based dairy cooperative's expansion of the plant at 400 Alexander Road, according to a news release from the Commerce Department, which administers funds granted by the Community Economic Revitalization Board.

Darigold is expected to add 25 new jobs with the expansion, according to the news release, and retain the current workforce of 137 workers.

Port officials deferred comments on the expansion to Darigold.

Other businesses operating at the port will also benefit, but Darigold's planned expansion was specifically mentioned in the Port's application for receive state funding, Crowther said.

"This really shows how public infrastructure and private investment work together and results in positive economic development and job growth," Crowther said.