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Alpina Foods plans to purchase 10 acres of land adjacent to its new 40,000-square-foot Batavia Greek yogurt plant, located within the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, laying the groundwork for a potential future expansion at the site.

The new purchase doubles the size of Alpina’s Batavia site and “reinforces” the company’s “commitment to Batavia,” said the company’s general manager, Gustavo Bandino, in a statement. The company did not spell out what it intends to do with the land, saying instead that it will develop those plans over the next two years.

But Bandino said Alpina intends to expand in the area and maintain the Batavia location as its primary U.S. manufacturing site.

The company currently employs 55 people, five more than it committed to have by 2014. Alpina said it plans to continue hiring as production increases.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center is selling the land to Alpina for $50,000 per acre with a $50,000 down payment, according to Mark Masse, the center’s senior vice president of operations.

New York continues to emerge as a leader within the Greek yogurt boom. The strained yogurt, which comes in a variety of flavors, now makes up at least 36 percent of the national yogurt market.

Alpina decided to come to Batavia, which company leaders see as an “optimal” location, after researching regions throughout the country. Western New York’s extensive local dairy industry made it a good location for Alpina’s 10th global yogurt production plant, Alpina officials said.

Alpina’s payments for the new land will continue over the next four years in annual installments. The sale was approved by the agency’s board at a meeting Thursday evening. Alpina contacted the Genesee County Economic Development Center about buying the land, Masse said.

The Batavia plant, which cost $20 million and is the company’s first North American site, opened nine months ago. The company also has facilities in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

The land agreement comes with a six-month contingency period so the company will have the time to “do their due diligence” and ensure the property “meets their needs,” Masse said. If Aplina discovers the property isn’t suited for its plans – within that six-month period – the company has the “right to walk away,” Masse explained.

Batavia is also home to a Quaker Muller Dairy plant, a PepsiCo Greek yogurt and dairy product producer.

email: sdinatale@buffnews.com