Quality Food Processors will receive $1 million in state incentives as the company expands its bacon production plant in Denison.
On Friday, the Iowa Economic Development Authority board approved a $1 million forgivable loan for the project, which is required to create at least 195 jobs paying $12.70 per hour.
The new jobs are welcome news in Crawford County: In mid-August, Tyson Foods announced it would lay off 400 workers as it closed a beef production facility in Denison due to tight cattle supplies.
Quality Food Processors is planning to purchase its currently leased facility, upgrade the space and add a 15,000-square-foot expansion to house a new bacon cooking line. In total, the company will spend more than $22 million on the project.
The board on Friday also approved a $82,250 award to Greater Machining and Manufacturing Co. in Independence. The company is expanding its production capacity with the purchase of new machinery and equipment. As part of its award, it must create two new jobs paying at least $15.53 per hour.
The board also heard an update on a proposed Hilton convention center hotel in downtown Des Moines. The $100 million project — overseen by a nonprofit established by Polk County and Des Moines — will be attached to the Iowa Events Center and is scheduled to open in March 2018.
Officials had planned to partially finance the project through a federal program known as EB-5. It allows foreign citizens to obtain permanent U.S. residency by investing $500,000, and in some cases $1 million, in a U.S. business that creates at least 10 jobs.
But Polk County Administrator Mark Wandro said the EB-5 program needs congressional reauthorization before the hotel can get an expected $20 million in financing.
As part of the hotel's previously approved $36 million in state incentives, officials were required to submit a report to the economic development authority outlining financing details by Sept. 1. But that deadline was pushed back because of the delay in Congress.
"The challenge we have is with Congress," Wandro said. "We have no control over them."
The county administrator says he believes the project will ultimately receive the EB-5 funding. But if it doesn't, Polk County will loan $20 million toward the project.
"It has been approved — not formally — but all five supervisors have agreed to it as a contingency," he said. "They don’t want to have to do that, but they will if they have to."
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