Company to build plant in Albert Lea

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 7, 2006

By Joseph Marks, staff writer

Members of the Albert Lea Port Authority Board approved recommending JOBZ tax exemptions for Zumbro River Brand Inc. during their Thursday morning meeting.

Zumbro River is an industrial business that plans to install a plant in the former Natural Biologics, LLC building on Hershey Street opposite Albert Lea Select Foods. JOBZ stands for job opportunity building zone.

The Albert Lea City Council will consider the recommendation Monday night.

Albert Lea Economic Development Agency Executive Director Paul Sparks said Zumbro has committed to a target of 18 employees for the first two years and hopes to employ up to 80 employees several years down the road.

Zumbro River owns a factory in Owatonna and produces pastas, cereals, nutritional supplements and other food products for various labels, Sparks said.

JOBZ classification reduces a company’s property taxes, allowing the company to allocate more funds to development.

Sparks said the Port Authority formerly owned the lot Zumbro River will occupy and sold it to Natural Biologics, a pharmaceutical company, in 1996. Sparks said Natural Biologics closed because of a lawsuit and the Port Authority was active in finding a buyer for the building.

At the Port Authority meeting, Sparks also gave board members an update on the construction plan for the proposed 33.43-acre industrial park planned west of the current South Industrial Park adjacent to Margaretha Avenue.

Sparks said a plan for the industrial park will be presented to the Albert Lea Planning Commission in August and to the City Council at its Aug. 28 meeting.

Sparks said the industrial park will most likely be completed in July or August of 2008 and no sooner than the fall of 2007. He said the project would have to wait through at least one winter for gravel on the road to settle.