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SunOpta starts big project

An excavator made quick work of SunOpta's old office building on 3rd Avenue West last week. The company is making a major reinvestment on the site, adding a new warehouse-office facility. (Photo by Al Edenloff)

A big project is taking shape at the SunOpta Ingredients plant on 3rd Avenue West in Alexandria.

Demolition crews used heavy machinery to tear down the front part of the building last week and the site is being prepared for a new 27,000-square-foot warehouse with a 1,000-square-foot attached office.

The project is being done in response to a fire that burned down the company's unattached warehouse in January 2011. Building a new warehouse and having it attached to the office will make things run more efficiently, according to Mark Tagatz, vice president of operations.

The project is in the $3 million range. Construction will continue through the winter and is expected to be finished next June.

Established in 1987, SunOpta is a food ingredient supplier and manufacturer specializing in custom spray-drying, dry-blending, liquid separation, clarification and fermentation. It's the largest producer of shelf stable soymilk in the U.S.

It has two facilities in Alexandria - 3rd Avenue West and Minnesota Street. Locally, the company employs about 200 people.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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