ASHVILLE - Despite cooperation across the board locally, German-based company saturn petcare inc will likely not be coming to Ashville due to an infrastructure problem.
"saturn petcare, at this time, the project has stopped," Bill Daly, County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency adminstrative director, told The Post-Journal on Thursday. "The board of directors of parent company heristo (aktiengesellschaft), in Germany, voted last week to stop the project. At this time, they do not have an alternative location."
According to Daly, officials from heristo aktiengesellschaft were in town recently to finalize the deal and as a last step, looked into the water supply at the former AFA Foods building in Ashville. What they learned was that the supply was not on the 150 acres they were purchasing, but on the neighbor's property.
The former AFA Foods building in Ashville.
"They actually had started hiring people in the Jamestown area," Daly said of the progress prior to the company's decision to cease purchase. "They were here literally to close the deal, to buy the property and the last thing they checked was the water. They would have had to exchange water rights. They were going to also have to bring water from the BPU, which the end of that line is at Cummins Engine. It's about a mile and a quarter from the proposed facility. And, that was going to be quite expensive to run the line from Cummins to the old AFA plant. It really was an accumulation of unanticipated expense."
Daly said the company estimated it would use 200,000 gallons of water a day.
The IDA announced in April that saturn petcare inc's parent company was planning to establish a U.S.-based manufacturing facility for pet care products.
At April's meeting, Daly said the company anticipated starting out with 25 employees, growing to more than 100 jobs within five years. Additionally, representatives from saturn petcare inc said they would be putting more than $20 million into the business and property upgrades.
In May, although nothing had been finalized, Daly reported he was 95 percent certain saturn petcare inc would be coming to Ashville.
"We had full cooperation across the board," Daly said. "The deciding issue was adequacy of water supply to the facility. It wasn't just the fact of if they could get water, it was also the expense of water. They use a lot of water."
Now that the water issue has been recognized on the property, Daly said the CCIDA is working to find alternatives to get water to the site in order to market it for other potential businesses. Although the CCIDA and County Executive Greg Edwards are still in contact with heristo's U.S. representation, they are unsure as to whether the company will ultimately decide to move forward in Ashville.
Despite the outcome, Daly praised the amount of cooperation that surrounded the project, and the support it received.
"New York state cooperated. The people in the town of Harmony fully cooperated, the town supervisor and people on the town board. Really, this was a great example of everybody working together," Daly said. "The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities, they were working with saturn to get a water line out there. Mayor Sam Teresi offered his full cooperation and Cummins Engine, they were outstanding trying to assist in any way they could, if it would mean bringing in a new large employer. It just came down to something that we are going to work to correct, so maybe the Germans will reconsider, or we can help someone in the future who may need a large quantity of water for food manufacturing or whatever else they might make there."