CHATSWORTH ( — Hundreds of Angelenos could soon be out of work after Nestlé USA announced it will relocate a Hot Pockets facility in Chatsworth back east.

KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports the 184,000-square-foot production facility in the 9600 block of Canoga Avenue has been making the popular snacks since 1988.

The Glendale-based Nestlé USA will move the Chatsworth operation to another facility in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, where the company will invest $13 million and hire 150 new employees locally as the operation converts to a round-the-clock schedule, officials announced.

Approximately 360 employees will be impacted by the closure, but Nestle officials say some may be able to relocate to their Kentucky facility where Hot Pockets production will be shifted some time in October.

In a statement, Nestlé USA’s Chief Technical Officer Martial Genthon said the decision to consolidate production to one location came after exhaustive analysis.

“Unlike other manufacturing facilities we operate in California, the Chatsworth facility presents some challenges to our business needs,” said Genthon. “While the decision to stop manufacturing Hot Pockets at our California facility is a tough one because it affects 360 of our Nestlé employees, it is the right decision for our business.”

Nestlé USA bought the Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets brands in 2002.

Local business owners like Lonell, who has owned a small machine shop in Chatsworth since 2011, said she can understand the move given the city and state’s high tax rate.

“They tax you on the seat you sit in, the computer you use, the machinery you use, then you have to pay tax to keep the machinery and operate it,” she said. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

It was not immediately clear what will happen to the facility once Nestlé USA completes the transition.

Economist William Roberts, director of the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center at Cal State Northridge, told the Daily News that it will not be easy to repurpose the facility or replace the jobs.

“There is still a lot of empty space throughout the Valley so it’s not like there is a lack of places to buy and build something,” he said. “I’ve seen places lie vacant for five or six years.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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