Polaris Milford

Safco Products Inc. has taken over the former Polaris facility in Milford, Iowa, and plans to convert it into an office furniture production plant this fall. 

MILFORD, Iowa | Pending approval of a deal with state and local officials in Iowa, a Minnesota-based office furniture manufacturer plans to bring 100 jobs to Milford.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board, at its monthly meeting Friday, will consider awarding a $515,000 financial aid package to Liberty Diversified International, the parent company of New Hope, Minnesota-based Safco Products.

If approved, the new employer could provide a huge boost for Milford, which lost 330 jobs earlier this year after Polaris Inc. ended production at its 430,000-square-foot facility in the Dickinson County city. 

After acquiring the former Polaris plant for $4 million and renovating it, Safco would begin manufacturing office furniture and organizational products in the sprawling one-story structure, according to state documents released Thursday. The purchase price is part of Safco's total $15.1 million investment.

Safco has asked the state for a $250,000 forgivable loan, a $250,000 five-year, interest-free loan and $15,000 in tax credits in help to finance the project, according to state documents.

At a meeting Monday, the Milford City Council approved a resolution that would provide Safco with local economic development incentives, a required state to garner support from the IEDA. The city's incentive package includes a $500,000 tax increment finance rebate distributed over 10 years and a $50,000 forgivable loan.

In exchange for the incentives, Safco would promise to create the production jobs at an hourly wage of at least $16.83, the average for Dickinson County.

If the state and local incentives are approved, as expected, Safco said it would close on the property in January, renovate the building in October and have it operational by November.

Originally a furniture factory, Polaris shifted production of some of its vehicles to the plant in 2013. The Roseau, Minnesota-based power sports company still maintains a plant in nearby Spirit Lake that employs around 650.

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