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Around Tulare County: New Plaza Dr Hotel / Fruit Patch Update

June 17.2015-

Porterville-Based Group Buys Fruit Patch

Dinuba-based Fruit Patch has been acquired by a five-member investment group headed by Thomas Avinelis of Porterville’s AgriCare Inc. The company will utilize both the packing and cold storage facility  on Rd 140.

The parent company is based in Porterville with management activities in both California and Oregon.

The purchase amount wasn’t disclosed but is rumored to be in the $16 million range,far less that Fruit Patch was purchased for in 2006 by American Capital – said to $168 million at the time.

The name of the new entity is Legacy Packing and Cold Storage. “Our goal is to provide quality jobs and to maintain deep community ties,” Avinelis says. “We will create the premiere citrus and tree fruit custom packer in the industry.”

Legacy Packing will be entirely devoted to fresh-market fruit.He told the Packer newspaper this week that the operation was already up and going and they had hired former employees at Fruit Patch.

Legacy will provide packing service for growers of pomegranates persimmons and tree fruit as well as cold storage for table grapes. In colder months they will pack citrus.

Avinelis and his group have pioneered growing, packing and marketing of organic fruit including blueberries and have farms in both California and Oregon. One such partnership is Homegrown Organic Farms.

According to their website AgriCare, founded in 1990, has over 200 employees and manages 14,000+ acres of permanent crops in California & Oregon.

Avinelis grew up on a farm in Kerman and started his Tulare County farm operations after graduating from Cal Poly.

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Work To Begin On New Plaza Drive Hotel

Work is expected to begin on building a new 4-story Plaza Drive hotel in Visalia now that escrow has closed on 2.5 acres says broker Doug Burr. A Bakersfield developer, Raj Verma, will build a 95-room Marriott Residence Inn next to Fresno Pacific University. The property was purchased from the Bruno family. Building plans have been submitted to the city who already has approved a preliminary site plan. The project is part of the Plaza Business Park.

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