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Industrial Park business agreements approved

Shelby Lindrud / Tribune The city of Willmar has approved a land sale and business subsidy agreement with ISCO Inc., on behalf of Buhler-Versatile Inc. The company is purchasing a 5.9-acre lot located just south of Bühler's manufacturing facility in the Willmar Industrial Park.

WILLMAR — Public hearings regarding land sales and business agreements were held during last Monday's city council Monday, as the final steps before two development projects can begin in the Industrial Park.

ISCO Inc., a parent company of Buhler-Versatile is purchasing a 5.9 acre plot of land located directly south of the Bühler manufacturing facility in the Industrial Park. The company plans to build a warehouse on the lot.

The starting sale price of the land was set at $322,807. However, ISCO will be using the city's land write down policy, which reduces the purchase price of city-owned Industrial Park land based on the number of jobs being created and/or the value of improvements made to the property.

"They propose to create a minimum of 31 new positions over three years," said Bruce Peterson, director of Willmar Planning and Development.

Those potential jobs reduced the sale price by $310,000 to $12,807. ISCO will need to fill those positions and retain them. If the company fails do so, it will have to pay the city back for the write down.

Both the land sale and the business subsidy agreement, which lays out the write down and its requirements, were approved by the city council on a 6-0 vote. Councilor Ron Christianson abstained and Councilor Shawn Mueske was absent.

"The biggest issue is moving to meet the schedule of Bühler. They would like to do significant hiring. They really want to ramp up their production and have those jobs credited to the land write down," Peterson said.

GM Development is purchasing a lot in the fourth addition of the Industrial Park, where a 14,000-square-foot trucking terminal, with 24 loading docks and office space, is to be built. The land price was set at $386,175. Magnum Trucking, who will be operating the terminal, estimates the project will create at least 10 new jobs in the first three years.

"Magnum is a long-standing company and has a number of terminals in the state of Minnesota. They are definitely not a startup," Peterson said.

Those jobs, along with the increased value of the property once the terminal is constructed, has lowered the purchase price of the lot to $270,545, a write down of $115,630.

"We are ready to close on the property," Peterson said.

Earlier this spring the council approved a tax increment financing district for this property, which would reimburse the city for the write down and help GM Development finance the second phase of the project.

GM Development also has the right of first refusal for a second, larger parcel of land in the park for the possible second phase, which would include a 42,500-square-foot distribution and warehouse space. The addition development could happen as soon as 2020.

The council approved the business subsidy agreement with GM Development in an 6-0 vote. Christianson abstained from the vote.

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