Building The Future

The Iowa Falls Area Development Corporation is putting its faith in the Ray Kinsella philosophy: if you build it, they will come.

Ground will be broken this week on construction of a 24,000-square-foot speculative building in the Southview Industrial Park along Westview Drive in Iowa Falls. The building will be marketed to businesses considering moving to or relocating within Iowa Falls.

IFADC Executive Director Cindy Litwiller said the idea to construct the building was born from her conversations with prospects.

“I’ve had individual companies looking at trying to find a place, but we had no building available of the size we’re building,” she said. “So we thought the time was right to do a spec or shell building.”

The last large-scale building available for purchase in Iowa Falls was the one formerly owned by CMC Joist, but that was sold to United Suppliers in 2012.

IFADC has built a spec building before. The building that houses Times Citizen Communications’ press was built as a shell building in 2005. It sold, within 18 months, to TCC, which has since added on to the original building.

Litwiller said this latest venture is being made possible thanks to IFADC’s partnership with Midland Power Cooperative and Corn Belt Power Cooperative. The same three-way partnership created the Southview Industrial Park and partnered for the first spec building. “It’s kind of a unique partnership,” she said.

In January, the Iowa Falls City Council approved a resolution supporting the construction of a new building. If the building sells within the first three years, the City will not pay for any of the costs associated with its construction. If the building is not sold within three years, the City would begin paying one third of the loan repayment, with the other two-thirds being paid by Midland and Corn Belt. But, once the building is sold, the City would be reimbursed for its payments plus interest.

To cover the initial financing of the project, IFADC has applied for a Rural Economic Development Grant ($360,000) and a Rural Economic Development Loan ($231,200), both through the USDA. Those sources would be used, along with money from Midland’s and Corn Belt’s revolving loan funds ($73,900).

The building will be built on the north side of Westview Drive, which runs east of South River Street in the industrial Park. Litwillersaid Fox Engineering designed the building and Smith-Gehrls Inc., was awarded the contract with a bid of $739,000.

The idea of a spec building is not unique to Iowa Falls. In fact, one is being built in Hampton. And, Litwiller said, while Corn Belt Cooperative’s territory used to have seven or eight spec buildings for sale, there are only one or two available right now.

Litwiller said she’s already pitched the building to one prospective business. While the building could be sold now (and the owner would have the ability to make changes to the design), full marketing of it won’t begin until construction is complete. Substantial completion is scheduled for June 2015, with final completion in September. And, while the building will be 24,000 square feet when completed, Litwiller said there’s space to expand by 32,000 square feet to the north
With the spec building construction beginning, and the lot to the east of it having been recently sold, there’s a lot of activity in the Southview Industrial Park.

“It’s exciting to see it getting started,” Litwiller said.

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