An Australian food manufacturing company plans to spend $7 million renovating a former plastics plant in northwest Colorado Springs for its U.S. headquarters and production facility.
Trisco Foods said it plans to hire 15 employees in May for production to begin in August for the U.S. market on specialized foods used in the treatment of a swallowing disorder called dysphagia, said Alex Travnicek, the company’s project manager for the expansion.
Trisco plans to hire up to 65 more employees during the next eight years as the company expands distribution of the dysphagia products to South America and Europe and adds fillings, toppings and syrups to its product line.
The company announced its plans Tuesday after the Colorado Springs City Council approved sales and use tax rebates totaling $32,000 over four years on equipment and construction materials for the plant. The Colorado Economic Development Commission last year approved $720,474 in state income tax credits, based on the company hiring 80 people at an average salary of $57,247 during the next eight years.
“Colorado Springs was chosen as an ideal location for our international expansion. With good access to the entire United States, as well as growing specialty food manufacturing culture, we see great opportunities for the future,” Trisco CEO Mike Tristram said Tuesday in a news release.
Trisco began searching for a U.S. manufacturing location about two years ago. Sales of the dysphagia products quickly grew after it formed a partnership with St. Louis, Mo.-based Simply Thick in 2014 to sell the products in the U.S., Travnicek said.
Manufacturing the dysphagia products in the U.S. would dramatically reduce the 45-day process of making the products in Australia and shipping them to the U.S., he said.
“As Colorado Springs continues to grow as a specialty manufacturing hub with accessibility, competitive affordability and a growing workforce, we’re proud to welcome Australia’s Trisco Foods and pleased we could work with them to find a home for its U.S. headquarters,” said Dirk Draper, CEO of the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC.
The company also considered other locations in Colorado and Houston. The Texas city’s port facilities would make it easier to receive ingredient shipments from Chinese vendors, Travnicek said.
Meanwhile, Colorado Springs was a contender in part because Tristram’s wife, Corinne, grew up in the Black Forest area and her parents live in Monument.
The Springs emerged as the best candidate because the region “is very business friendly, due in part to the intelligent and highly skilled workforce, centralized interstate access, excellent incentive packages and low-cost utilities,” said Travnicek, a Springs native and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs engineering graduate.
He also cited the area’s “active, outdoor and healthy lifestyle.”
Trisco plans to spend $7 million to remodel the 39,600-square-foot building it acquired in November for $4.68 million at 1555 W. Garden of the Gods Road.
The building was built in 2000 by Intel Corp. as part of its semiconductor manufacturing operation it closed in 2008.
Specialty plastics manufacturer Entegris leased the building from 2011 until August, when it consolidated operations at a nearby facility.
Randy Dowis of NAI Highland Commercial Group said he showed Trisco another building on Northpark Drive in late 2017 and contacted the company in May about the Garden of the Gods Road property. Travnicek and other company officials quickly made the building their first choice and later closed on the deal with Simon Penner of Newmark Knight Frank representing them.
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