New buyer in the works for Fulton's former Birds Eye plant

There could be new hope for the city of Fulton.

When Birds Eye announced it was closing down its food processing plant last spring, 300 people lost their jobs at a time when Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward says they could least afford it. "It's devastating. A lot of those people had mortgages, they had children in college. It hurt them," he says.

However, good news could be on the horizon. Woodward says a Canadian company, the Spire Group, has expressed interest in buying the plant and hiring back about 30 former employees. Woodward says Spire, which operates refrigerated warehouses worldwide, would buy the entire building but use only the freezer side. It's a move Woodward says could help make it easier to find a buyer for the manufacturing side of the plant. " You will probably get someone in that manufacturing side a lot quicker because they aren't saddled with that huge refrigeration costs," he says.

Woodward says the plant is assessed at more than $7 million but the Spire Group is offering less than $2 million, and the company wants a property tax break as well. Even with those concessions, Woodward says selling the plant to Spire would be a good deal for the city. "If it means jobs and filling the facility, I think we would be foolish not to go along with it," he says.

Don't expect the plant to be opening any time soon, though. The Oswego Industrial Development Agency would still have to sign off on any deal and they say it is still very early in the process. It could be some time before this plant is back in business.