"Mystery Business" Eyeing Dubuque

posted by WMT News/KCRG-TV9 - 

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A mystery business is considering the city of Dubuque for a multi-million dollar investment, so city leaders want to invest some money in its own industrial center in preparation.

A business might buy 40 acres of land from the city of Dubuque for a $350 million investment. (Charlie Grant, KCRG-TV9)

Greater Dubuque Development Corporation (GDDC) CEO Rick Dickinson isn't revealing the name of the company. However, city documents state it's a, "fast-growing and increasingly significant player in food production."

If the company chooses Dubuque out of three other cities, it would invest $350 million to build a 350,000 square-foot facility on Chavenelle Road near Theisen's Supply.

The city has opened up public bidding and set a public hearing to begin development of the 40 acre property, which would cost $632,000.

Dickinson said this is necessary because the land is hilly and not ready for construction.

"There has to be a lot of grading to make that flat, and to meet this particular prospect’s time table, that grading would have to begin immediately," he said.

Dickinson said the land wouldn't go to waste if the company doesn't choose Dubuque for development, because then the land would be ready for another company to build.

"We still need a graded site, this will just accelerate that," Dickinson said.

According to city documents, this business would, "employ approximately 450 people within five years with an estimated annual payroll exceeding $22 million." Dickinson said those jobs would have good wages.

"Of the 400 plus jobs, over 260 would be defined as quality jobs in the state of Iowa and in Dubuque that would mean that they would pay approximately $23 an hour on average," Dickinson explained.

Dickinson believes Dubuque has an edge over the competition.

"We have a high concentration of higher education in our market which is an added plus," he said. "We have great leadership, we have a community committed to working with the existing employers which new employers like to see.”

Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) President Liang Chee Wee said the college will be ready to help this employer with training.

"When a company is deciding to come to Dubuque, we ask them what their needs are. And from that needs we create customized training for them," Wee said.

He added, "it is not always a one time training, because over time we know that there will be more needs. And we look forward to cultivating long-term relationships because we want the business to stay.”

Dickinson said bringing employers like this one to Dubuque is all about working together.

He said, "the team got us to as far as we are today, that collaboration between the public sector and the private sector.”

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