The Municipality of Hoogeveen has signed a preliminary contract with the FAGE Group for the construction of a production site at Riegmeer industrial park. The signing of the option contract for a 15-hectare plot is an important step toward settling in Hoogeveen.
Alderman Jan Zwiers: 'The establishment of FAGE means the first large-scale establishment on Riegmeer. It will provide a major economic boost; during construction and afterwards. Just think of the employment: FAGE will soon have about 250 full-time jobs available and will provide work in the fields of construction, suppliers, transportation and maintenance. It is also to be expected that in FAGE's wake new companies will settle in this area.' Drenthe Deputy Henk Brink is also pleased with FAGE's arrival: 'This location is important for Hoogeveen and also for the entire region. FAGE is a wonderful company and a great addition to the dairy cluster in Hoogeveen. The arrival of such a large company has a pull effect and contributes to strengthening the Drenthe ecosystem.
New European production site on Riegmeer
FAGE is an internationally operating producer of Greek yogurt with sites in Greece and the United States. In Hoogeveen, FAGE can build the desired new European production site. This ultra-modern and sustainable dairy plant requires an investment of more than 150 million euros.
The establishment of such a large company is a huge operation involving numerous parties. FAGE works closely with NOM, NFIA, the province of Drenthe, the water board, WMD, NV RENDO and the municipality of Hoogeveen, among others. In a good, constructive atmosphere we worked towards a feasible business case for FAGE. Zwiers: 'Step by step, in proper consultation with all parties, a model was worked out for all aspects such as infrastructure, wastewater, gas, electricity, water supply and so on. We are pleased with the constructive, collaborative attitude of all parties that has led to the possibility of FAGE being located in Hoogeveen. FAGE is supported by Arcadis in the areas of design, permits and project management.
Permits and utilities
Work continues in the coming period on the realization of the new plant. For example, permits will be worked out and applied for, and arrangements will be made for the construction of utilities. FAGE is the first company to get a place in the Riegmeer industrial park. The business park is not yet equipped with the necessary infrastructure. This includes the sewage system. The construction of a new discharge line, with a length of eight kilometers, from Riegmeer to the sewage treatment plant in Echten is necessary to facilitate FAGE but not only that. Business park Buitenvaart 1, the core of Hollandscheveld and DOC Kaas will also be connected to this discharge line. This adjustment is necessary to relieve the core of Hoogeveen and to ensure that no polluting overflow situations arise. Zwiers: 'The reason for this adjustment is the probable arrival of FAGE, but we had to make this adjustment anyway. The pressure on the current sewer system from Buitenvaart and Hollandscheveld towards Hoogeveen is too high. If we develop Riegmeer, the pressure and nuisance will increase even more and that is not acceptable. That is why we now choose to make the sewage system ready for the future. The construction of the pressure line will cost €11.8 million. The college of B&W is asking the city council to approve this investment. It will be covered by the sewerage charge payable by FAGE and a 3% indexation of the sewerage charge. For the past ten years, the sewer charge has not been indexed. To keep this charge break-even in future years, indexing is logical and unavoidable, even without this investment.
On Nov. 29 and Dec. 9, the city council will consider a proposal to adopt the land development plan for the northern part of Riegmeer, which will formally regulate the construction of the first half of Riegmeer. The council will also then decide on the investment in upgrading the sewer system. Construction of FAGE's plant is scheduled to begin in mid-2022. Production will start in Hoogeveen in the second half of 2024.
From start to finish
In cooperation with Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), NOM has launched a study of possibilities to facilitate Greek FAGE in the Northern Netherlands. This took into account FAGE's criteria and requirements for a new production location in the Netherlands. The Riegmeer business park in Hoogeveen quickly emerged as a potential site. Reinder de Jong, project manager acquisition: "As NOM we are very pleased with the arrival of FAGE in the Northern Netherlands. This once again underlines the strong position of the Northern Netherlands in the field of dairy. Embedding such a large project quickly makes the whole thing very complex. NOM, in consultation with the parties involved, has therefore paid a lot of attention to all relevant aspects, such as utilities, waste water, nitrogen problems, the necessary permits and the coordination between parties involved. All in all, an intensive process that took almost a year. We are pleased that in good consultation with FAGE we were able to offer them that support as well."
The FAGE Group is a family-owned company founded in 1926 in Greece. The company has grown into a family-owned international company with production facilities in Metamorfosi (Greece), and Johnstown, New York (USA). FAGE is among the leading yogurt brands in the US and Europe, was one of the leading companies behind the success of Greek yogurt in the US, and sells its products in more than 40 countries.