Greencore is an Irish-based multinational company that is a global leader in convenience foods and the largest manufacturer of fresh sandwiches worldwide. Greencore USA, the company’s North American presence, has grown significantly since entering the market seven years ago and is one the fastest growing companies in the fresh prepared foods market.
When Greencore needed to expand its production facility in the northeast, the company chose to come to Quonset Business Park in Rhode Island for a variety of reasons. Centrally located between Boston and New York, Rhode Island presented an ideal location. Quonset offered easy access to Route 4 and Interstate 95, which meant products could get to market quickly and efficiently. The business park itself has modernized infrastructure, is meticulously maintained and offers attractive amenities for workers to enjoy. Greencore executives were also enthused with Quonset’s incentives, which reward longer-term leases and job creation based on payrolls.
Greencore USA had evaluated multiple states and sites to establish its northeast hub, producing approximately six million units per week and supplying more than 20 states – or 15% of the U.S. population – with products that have on average shelf life of two days.
Greencore had a tight schedule – less than 14 months to build a green-field, state-of-the-art, fresh prepared food facility, almost twice the speed of a normal project. The construction scheduled was the single largest challenge for the state and the Quonset Development Corporation (QDC), and it was met with an engaged staff and determination to succeed for the state and the company.
Commerce RI staff successfully convinced Greencore that the 107,000-square-foot, convenience food manufacturing facility would be cost-effective to construct and operate in Rhode Island.
Under the terms of the proposed agreement, Greencore selected a 15-acre parcel that is part of Quonset’s Site-Readiness Program, which includes all the permitting and engineering that a developer would have to conduct as part of the “due diligence” to get a project under way. The Quonset board of directors approved a 50-year lease that would create nearly 400 new jobs in the Quonset Business Park, meeting the construction schedule of less than one year.
From day one, the project was fast tracked; the identification of the appropriate site and securing of construction permits was accomplished in less than 60 days. Both the business case study and the site permits schedule were presented to the consultants and senior company executives for their review.
Commerce RI worked with other agencies to expedite the development timeline offered. Quonset’s Site Readiness Program and their uniform development guidelines gave Greencore confidence about the process ahead. Most impressive was Commerce RI’s economic development strategy and approach, which supported Greencore through all aspects of permitting, licensing, and certificate of occupancy auditing, as well as hiring new employees.
After signing a lease in March 2014, shovels were in the ground less than two months later, and less than a year later, Greencore executives were joined by the Rhode Island governor and the Irish Minister for Agriculture and Food to celebrate the grand opening of the new facility.
Only 11 months elapsed between groundbreaking and the start of operations in this innovative facility. This could only be accomplished with a state and an economic development team with expertise in fast tracking large-scale projects with superior customer service. Rhode Island and QDC staff demonstrated a “can-do” attitude to surmount all challenges and barriers that arose during the fast-paced project. The result: In April 2015, the Greencore USA facility went into operation and started employing its first Rhode Island employees.
“We are pleased to be coming to Quonset Business Park and the state of Rhode Island,” said Liam McClennon, CEO of Greencore USA. “In searching for the right location, we wanted to find a place where we could build quickly, have easy access to the major cities on the East Coast, and be in a place where we could grow in the future. Quonset met all those criteria perfectly – it is a world-class facility.”
Greencore has already invested approximately $30 million in the new facility at Quonset, and executives could not be more grateful to have chosen to join the 200 companies and more than 10,000 workers that call Quonset home.