City plans proposal for Quality Pork

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 7, 2002

As one opportunity for economic development for Albert Lea has fallen through with Ford, another has arrived in Quality Pork Processing Co.

Monday night, the city council will vote on a development proposal to offer Quality Pork Processors. The proposal includes Tax Increment Financing and will include the Port Authority building a building for the company to engage in a long term lease with the city.

The city is offering a 10-acre site in the Northaire Industrial Park, north of Minnesota Corrugated Box. The facility would be about 50,000 square feet, city manager Paul Sparks estimates the cost would be in the “$3 million range.”

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While the city knows it will use a TIF district and construct a building for leasing to the company, the method by which it will pay for the construction of that building has not yet been decided.

Greater Jobs owns the site and has agreed to let the city pay for it through TIF payments.

The Port Authority plans on paying for the cost of the construction of the building through one of three ways.

The first option is to get a bond. While it would have a low interest rate, it would have to be done by the city because the Port Authority doesn’t have the capital and property to secure a bond. The bond would also require a guarantee of scheduled payments from the city, so if somehow the company could not make payments, the city would have to foot the bill.

Sparks said the city would need to require QPP to assure a contract between it and Hormel, the company for which it prepares its pork products, for the duration of the bond and lease agreement.

A mortgage is another option. While it would require a higher interest rate it would let the Port Authority deal with it through a bank.

Finally a third party could pay for the building and lease it to the company. Sparks said it is possible that some groups might be willing to fund that but nothing is guaranteed.

The city will be considering its options over the next few weeks according to Sparks. The company has asked that the proposal be delivered by Jan. 1.

The pork processing plant would employ 50 to begin with, Sparks said that number would increase to 100 quickly and from there the company has said the number could increase to 200.

Company officials were unavailable for comment.

“We will make the best proposal we can for them,” Sparks said.