Global food giant Nestle is expanding its Cleveland manufacturing plant and planning a major research facility for its frozen food business in Solon.

Public officials and executives from the Swiss company broke ground on Thursday (18 August) for a two-storey, 75,000-square-foot expansion at the longtime L.J. Minor plant in Cleveland.

The plant produces food bases for national chain restaurants and distributors across the United States and Canada.

The Cleveland project represents an investment “well in excess of US$20m,” said Neil Dorfman, vice president of manufacturing and technical services for Nestle Professional North America.

The Cleveland site opened in 1951 as L.J. Minor Corp. and became part of Nestle in 1986.

The factory employs 210 people and accounts for about 20 percent of US sales for Nestle Professional, a division focused on the food-service industry. The expansion is expected to be finished in early 2013.

In Solon, Nestle wants to expand its local and regional research facility, which employs 80 people, to an international scale.