Dairy producer FAGE is working on a location at the Riegmeer Hoogeveen business park
The municipality of Hoogeveen has signed a provisional contract with the FAGE Group for the construction of a production location on the Riegmeer business park. Signing the option contract for a 15-hectare plot is an important step towards establishing a location in Hoogeveen.
Alderman Jan Zwiers: 'The FAGE location represents the first large-scale establishment on Riegmeer. It provides a significant economic impulse; during construction and afterwards. Just think of employment: FAGE will, in the end, have about 250 full-time jobs available and will provide work in the field of construction, suppliers, transport and maintenance. It is also to be expected that new companies will establish themselves in this area in the wake of FAGE.' Deputy-commissioner of the province of Drenthe Henk Brink is also delighted about the etablishment of FAGE: 'This location is important for Hoogeveen and also for the entire region. FAGE is a wonderful company and is a valuable addition to the dairy cluster in Hoogeveen. The arrival of such a large company has an attractive effect and contributes to strengthening the provincial ecosystem.'
New European production location on Riegmeer
FAGE is an internationally operating producer of Greek yogurt with factories in Greece and the United States. FAGE can build their desired new European production location in Hoogeveen. This ultramodern and sustainable dairy factory 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, among others, NOM, NFIA, the province of Drenthe, the water board Drents Overijsselse Delta, the WMD, NV RENDO and the municipality of Hoogeveen. In a good, constructive atmosphere, we worked towards a feasible business case for FAGE. Zwiers: 'In close consultation with all parties, a model has been developed step by step for all aspects such as infrastructure, waste water, gas, electricity, water supply and so on. We are pleased with the constructive, cooperative attitude of all parties that has led to the opportunity to establish FAGE in Hoogeveen.' FAGE is supported by Arcadis for design, permitting and project management services.
Permits and utilities
In the coming period, work will continue on the realization of the new factory. For example, permits are worked out and applied for and agreements are made about the construction of the utilities. FAGE is the first company to be located on the Riegmeer business park. The business park is not yet equipped with the necessary infrastructure. This applies, for example, to the sewage system. The construction of a new pressure pipeline, eight kilometers long, from Riegmeer to the sewage treatment plant in Echten is necessary to facilitate FAGE, but not only that. Business park Buitenvaart 1, the village of Hollandscheveld and DOC Kaas will also be connected to this new pipeline. This adjustment is necessary to relieve the sewage system of the city of Hoogeveen and to ensure that no polluting overflow situations arise, which contributes to water quality. Zwiers: 'The reason for this adjustment is the likely arrival of FAGE, but we had to make this adjustment anyway. The load on the current sewage system from Buitenvaart and Hollandscheveld to the city’s system is too high. If we develop Riegmeer, the load will increase even further, which increases the necessity of this investment even further. That is why we are now preparing the sewage system for the future.' The construction of the pressure pipeline will cost € 11.8 million. The board of Major and Aldermen asks the municipal council to approve this investment. The cover is formed by the annual sewage tax to be paid by FAGE and an indexation of the sewage charge by 3%. Sewage taxes have not been indexed for the past ten years. In order to keep this levy cost-effective in the coming years, indexation is logical and unavoidable, even without this investment.
On 29 November and 9 December, the municipal council will discuss a proposal regarding the land development for the northern part of Riegmeer, which will formally regulate the construction of the first half of Riegmeer. The council then also takes a decision on the investment in upgrading the sewage system. The construction of the FAGE factory is planned to start in mid-2022. Production will start in Hoogeveen in the second half of 2024.
The FAGE Group is a family business, founded in 1926 in Greece. The company has grown into an internationally operating family business with production facilities in Metamorfosi (Greece), and Johnstown, New York (USA). FAGE is one of the leading yogurt brands in the US and Europe, has been one of the leading companies behind the success of Greek yogurt in the US and sells its products in more than 40 countries.