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United FCS buys land in Willmar for new building

WILLMAR -- United FCS has purchased 6.4 acres of land at the south edge of Willmar for a future expansion of its offices.

CEO Marc Knisely announced the purchase Friday morning at the United FCS offices in Willmar.

"Sharing positive news in this economic environment is good for everyone," he said.

The land purchased is northeast of the intersection of U.S. Highway 71 South and 45th Avenue Southeast/ Kandiyohi County Road 19.

The land is in Willmar's city limits and is already served by city utilities.

The site is about one-quarter mile south of the cooperative's current office on Abbott Drive.

Plans for a new facility are not fully developed yet, but construction could begin later this year, Knisely said.

When the new facility is finished, it will be one of the first buildings visitors see as they drive into the city, Knisely said. "We will be pleased to put an attractive modern building there."

The new 20,000-square-foot building will be twice the size of the current building, which was built in 1981 and expanded in 1996.

Knisely outlined the growth in that time. In 1981, FCS served six counties and had $100 million in total loan volume. Now, it serves 22 counties in Wisconsin and Minnesota, with more than $1.3 billion in volume.

The Willmar facility serves as corporate headquarters as well as a retail branch office for United FCS. Forty people work in the Willmar offices, and Knisely said he expects employment to increase by as much as 20 percent in the first few years. Some employees may also be transferred from other branch offices to the corporate office.

Knisely thanked Tom Lindeman of Pro 1 Realty in Willmar for helping in the land search. They looked at property all over the community and "kept coming back to the property right down the street," Lindeman said.

United FCS is a farmer-owned cooperative and a part of the national Farm Credit System which has worked with agriculture and rural communities for more than 93 years.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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