Habben picked for plant

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 24, 2003

The Habben industrial park, a city-owned property, will be offered to Premium Pork LLC, according to city officials.

Monday night at the city council meeting, City Manager Paul Sparks announced that the site would be used and that purchase agreements are lined up for land next to the Habben site.

The company, according to councilor Jeff Fjelstad, will need 60-65 acres for their pork-processing plant. The city-owned Habben site is 32 acres, so the city would need to buy extra land to expand it.

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Sparks said to his knowledge, the company hasn’t changed its plans of making their decision this week.

The Habben park, in the past, had been offered to Ford Motor Company, which was looking for a location for a parts distribution warehouse. Before that, it was set aside as a site for a new Farmland plant.

St. Joseph, Mo. officials have expressed confidence that their offer would attract the company, but Albert Lea officials said they are still in the running.

The state recently confirmed that it could provide up to $1 million in grants for infrastructure to help Albert Lea’s offer, which is known to include $5.5 million in tax-increment financing and other incentives.

The plant could employ 1,000 or more when it’s up to full strength, and Albert Lea officials have been told it would include a corporate headquarters with up to 300 white-collar jobs and a visitor’s center expected to attract people from around the world.