CLEAR LAKE | Plans are underway for the possibility of an economic development project in Clear Lake that would be one of the largest in state history, City Administrator Scott Flory said Wednesday.

The proposed project is a new regional warehouse and distribution center in the Clear Lake Industrial Park that has the potential of creating 164 jobs paying an average salary of $39,000 a year.

Identity of the company has not been disclosed but is described as a Fortune 100 company — "among the first 100 of the Fortune 500," according to Brent Willett, head of the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corp.

Flory said, "This is a very rare opportunity to bring very meaningful jobs to the residents of Clear Lake and Cerro Gordo County. There are currently only nine Fortune 100 companies with a corporate presence in Iowa. This would be number 10," he said.

Willett said nothing is definite yet. "I want to emphasize this is still a preliminary project. We have not received notification that this is a done deal," he said.

NONETHELESS, the Clear Lake City Council has set a public hearing for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17 on a proposed 15-year development agreement with the company.

Flory said, "The city is proceeding optimistically but cautiously, taking the necessary legal steps to further a local incentive package and development agreement."

He said while there is no official confirmation that Clear Lake will land the project, it was advisable for the City Council to take the necessary steps to move forward when the time comes.

The business would be located in what is now an open, 39-acre, undeveloped area west of Titan Pro SCI in the Clear Lake Industrial Park and will have a tax base of about $19 million.

As proposed, the development will have a 340,000-square-foot regional warehouse and distribution center with possible expansion to 440,000 square feet.

IT IS ANTICIPATED construction would take about 18 months and involve as many as 385 construction jobs.

Flory said the proposed development agreement offers a proposed 15-year, 90 percent property tax rebate on new taxable valuation with annual appropriation provisions. The aggregate amount of the property tax rebates are not to exceed $7.3 million, based on the new taxable valuation of $19 million.

Flory said the city has also proposed to provide a 10-year forgivable loan of $1.6 million for site acquisition and development.

Also Monday, the City Council learned of a new tenant moving into the old South Street Bakery in the industrial park. Willett said the name of the business has not been disclosed because the tenant is still deciding on a name. 

It is expected to employ 20 to 25 people and be operational in about a month.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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