MASON CITY — Mason City is on the brink of landing a hog-processing operation that is expected to employ 2,000 workers in its first two years.
Officials declined to name the company. An official announcement is expected later this month after more details have been worked out.
“We can’t present this as a done deal, but everything is looking great,” said Chad Schreck, head of the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corp.
The company intends to build a state-of-the-art hog-processing facility on Mason City’s south side and hire 900 to 1,000 workers in Phase I and another 1,000 workers in Phase II over a period of 18 months to two years.
Mayor Eric Bookmeyer said it is a $245 million project, including a 600,000-square-foot facility. By comparison, the McKesson warehouse and distribution center in Clear Lake is 345,000 square feet.
The business is an out-of-state firm. This will be its first processing plant — “a new piece to the company,” said Schreck. The company intends to build a modern, environmentally friendly building that will enhance the neighborhood it will be in, he said.
It will have a $44 million annual payroll with jobs across the economic spectrum, said Schreck.
Bookmeyer said he sees many benefits to the city, including population growth and economic growth.
“Everybody in the community should have the opportunity to have a good job. These are wonderful, honorable jobs,” he said.
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Schreck said officials from the Iowa Economic Development Authority contacted him in December, informing him that the company was looking for a site for a new processing plant and that Mason City was one of the cities under consideration.
“We are pleased that the IEDA came to us — that when they learned of the project, they thought of us,” said Schreck.
Within days, company officials came to Mason City to meet with city and EDC officials and to get a feel for the city, said Bookmeyer.
They got a tour of the city and were shown the proposed site for the facility.
“They were impressed with our community, and still are,” said Bookmeyer.
Schreck said the project in Mason City represents “a huge next step for them and for our community.”
He said the influx of workers will have an impact on housing, schools and many other aspects of community life.
“From north to south to east to west, this will have a tremendous ripple effect,” said Schreck.
Stakeholders have been informed of the project and have been extremely supportive, he said.