With the announcement of the Heinz plant closing, many people are being faced with a tough situation. But that doesn't mean all hope is lost for the factory that employed around 400 people here in Pocatello. Ultimately, it’s Heinz’s responsibility to sell their real estate, but that doesn’t mean that Bannock Development Corporation isn’t working their hardest to make sure that the facilities are sold and jobs come back.
“Everybody wants to see their neighbors and their friends have a decent standard of living, have a decent livelihood,” said the Executive Director of Bannock Development Corporation, John Regetz.
John was very positive about the possibility of selling the plant quickly. With Idaho being active in the food industry, it’s a hot spot for companies looking to expand. With the plant’s infrastructure, two interstates, a railroad, and an airport all in the area, he doesn’t think the turn-around will take too long now that there is an open facility.
“So obviously we’ll strive with all of our efforts to make sure the gains exceed the losses, and we have the infrastructure and now we have the facilities to do that with,” he added.
The biggest issue they’re running into now is getting everyone’s timelines to correspond, seeing as it will be well into 2014 when the plant is officially closed and ready to be sold. Too many people will be losing jobs from now until then, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
“We’re still positive about the future of Pocatello. We look at some of the projects that have not succeeded or that have run their course as opportunity to try to bring as opportunity to try to bring in another company and try to restore those jobs,” Regetz told us.
Bannock Development has started the process of working with Heinz to get information about the building so they can start marketing it to companies, but there are still a lot of unsettled details like who the decision makers are going to be with selling the facility, and of course the timing of when to sell it.