SIOUX CITY -- At least three prospective businesses have expressed interest in acquiring a tract of city-owned industrial property near the proposed Seaboard Triumph Foods pork plant, city officials said.
Starting Saturday, the city will begin accepting proposals for the 21.4-acre site at the intersection of Oehlerking Drive and Boulevard of Champions in the Bridgeport West Business Park. The parcel includes a 50,000-square-foot "spec" building, constructed two years ago in hopes of attracting a new or expanding industry, as well as utilities and more than $6 million worth of road improvements that will support the $264 million pork plant, which is expected to open in July with at least 1,100 workers.
“We have seen a demand for businesses wanting to locate near the Seaboard Triumph site,” city economic development director Marty Dougherty said.
Chris Myres, a city economic development staffer, said he knows of three or four parties that are eyeing the property the city is offering. While he declined to identify any of them, he noted the location would be perfect for an ancillary business that would support the pork plant.
“We know the proposals are kind of all over the board as far as how much land they need and how many jobs they will create and that sort of thing, whether they need a spec building or not,” Myres said. “So we just kind of threw it all out there: All of the land, plus the building and we basically said, 'How much of this do you need? Tell us how much you are willing to pay for it?’”
City officials stressed the high bidder would not necessarily prevail.
“We’re not selling the land for speculation; we are selling to people who are going to build something on it,” Dougherty said.
“If somebody give us a proposal that just says, ‘I’m going to give you X dollars and just hold onto it,’ they are going to lose,” Myres added.
The number of jobs and property tax valuation will factor heavily into the city's decision, they said.
Ideally, Myres said the city wants to get the most use out of the land.
“If we can fit two projects or maybe three projects on that 21 acres, that’s even better,” he said.
Both Dougherty and Myres said the city is willing to negotiate with bidders.
"We're just trying to get the most bang for our buck with the land the city bought," Dougherty said.
Because the property is located in an urban renewal district, the city is required by law to advertise the property for at least 30 days before accepting a proposal.
After Dougherty's office vets the proposals, he will make a recommendation to the City Council.
The "spec" building, a shell that a developer can complete to fit an employer's specific needs, was a joint effort with the city and South Sioux City-based H&R Construction. The city provided 4.5 acres of land for the building, which was completed at a cost of $2.1 million in 2015.The project was an effort by the city to address the low inventory of industrial buildings and attract more jobs and businesses.