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Shelbyville lands Greenleaf Foods

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Gov. Eric Holcomb, third from right, and Dan Curtin, president of Greenleaf Foods, fourth from left, help break ground Monday in Shelbyville for the plant-based food company’s newest manufacturing facility that is slated to open in late 2020. The facility will be North America’s largest plant-based protein facility.
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Dan Curtin, president of Greenleaf Foods, ended his energetic remarks with an emphatic cheer further emphasizing the company’s excitement to be opening a 230,000-square-foot facility in Shelbyville.

By JEFF BROWN - jbrown@shelbynews.com

Five months after city and county officials purchased a key piece of real estate to put the land under one ownership group, Greenleaf Foods announced a deal to build the largest plant-based protein facility in North America in Shelbyville.

“It took a real team to pull that off,” said Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun after the Monday announcement and ground-breaking ceremony on land located just east of Interstate 74 off State Road 44. “The majority of the city council, the county council, the redevelopment commission voted in favor of purchasing the land. I thought that was a very important first step. (Greenleaf Foods) indicated as much to us when we were negotiating with them and they were looking at multiple locations. We were the only one that I am aware of that had complete control of the land. That, in addition, to the presentation we made and the confidence we had in ourselves, they ended up choosing us.”

Greenleaf Foods has agreed to construct a 230,000-square-foot facility that will more than double the company’s production capability to meet the demand for protein-based foods produced under the Lightlife and Field Roast brands.

“Greenleaf Foods has such a passion with a purpose,” said Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, who took part in the event Monday in Shelbyville. “It will contribute in ways we maybe don’t even realize right now in such a positive way. As a corporate citizen, you just can’t find better than Greenleaf Foods.”

The $310 million facility is the largest manufacturing investment in the history of Shelby County. The company expects to employ 460 people on its 57-acre property that will give Greenleaf a stonghold in the Midwest that will join in the production capabilities of its other two facilities in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, and Seattle, Washington.

“We were impressed from the very first meeting ... from the on-site visits we had to the follow-up meetings, correspondence and communications ... absolutely everybody was on their ‘A’ game every single day,” said Dan Curtin, president of Greenleaf Foods to approximately 100 people that attended the ground-breaking ceremony. “Honestly, that’s what attracted us. It started with the people. 

“What’s important to us, it’s not about today when the shovels go in the ground. It’s not when the building goes up. It’s what this legacy is going to be for all of us going forward. I want all of us to be proud. I want people driving down the highway to see this facility and say, ‘That’s Greenleaf. We helped do that. We helped establish that.’”

The facility located on the former Presbyterian land along the eastern corridor into Shelbyville has plans to expand if the market demand continues to rise. According to a Greenleaf Foods media release, the North American plant-based protein market has estimated sales of $1 billion in 2018. Fresh refrigerated products represent approximately 24 percent of the total market and delivered 40 percent sales growth in 2018. The release goes on to say all refrigerated products are forecasted to deliver double-digit growth for the next 20 years. 

“Greenleaf Foods is an innovator and a leader in this space so anytime you can attract an international or national investment into the state of Indiana, and partner with such a great corporate citizen, it’s just a win-win-win all the way around,” said Gov. Holcomb. “And to do it here in Shelby County makes it extra special.”

Greenleaf Foods is an independent subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods Inc., based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Established in 2018, Greenleaf Foods is headquartered outside Chicago in Elmhurst, Illinois. The company owns Lightlife Foods, a west coast brand, and Field Roast, an east coast brand, that market protein-based products including burgers, Italian sausage, Bratwurst Sausage and more.

“The beautiful thing is with the 57 acres we have here there is room to expand,” said Curtin. “We are doing Phase I here, that is what we’re launching and we need it to be successful so we can add on and continue to grow this facility. We don’t see this as a one and done. We see this as an evolution.”

Construction will start in the coming months with the goal of the facility to be up and running in late 2020. 

Redevelopment Commission approves Greenleaf purchase

The Redevelopment Commission convened a special meeting Tuesday morning at City Hall to open one bid received on a Request For Proposal for the former Presbyterian property that was purchased with city and county funds and put under the direction of the Redevelopment Commission.

Greenleaf Foods, SPC, submitted a proposal to purchase 57.26 acres located at Interstate 74 and State Road 44 at a cost of $26,500 per acre for a total cost of $1,517,390. In addition, the company put forth a 10-year option to purchase an additional 26.38 acres at $26,500 per acre totaling an additional $699,070.

The paperwork stated a closure date of May 15, or no later than June 1.

The Redevelopment Commission unanimously approved the purchase.