Article by: Joya Stetson
Vacant structures can present challenges for cities and economic development professionals. Tools to incent the purchase of these buildings are limited because the projects often do not necessarily increase taxable valuation. However, promoting the sale of these vacant buildings is an necessary consideration for cities as they continuously work to manage the positive perception of their community as a desirable location for companies to build, operate or expand their business.
In response to this challenge, CEDA team member Joya Stetson, who serves the City of Stewartville, MN, drafted the Existing Building Purchase Incentive Program which was approved by the Stewartville Economic Development Authority (EDA) in 2017. This program’s guidelines focus on filling vacant buildings with productive industry and attractive career opportunities by offering $1,000 per eligible FTE job created (up to $10,000).
HALCON, a recognized leader in design, quality and innovation within the contract office furniture industry, is a current employer in the City of Stewartville that was able to access the program for their planned expansion. HALCON has purchased a vacant 57,500 square-foot building and 10.5 acres of property adjacent to their current campus and plans to create at least 50 new full-time jobs. At its June 19, 2018 meeting, the Stewartville EDA approved HALCON’s application for the Existing Building Purchase Incentive Program in the amount of $10,000. Funds will be released to the company as soon as proof of purchase and job creation are provided to the City.
GEOTEK, another Stewartville employer, was also able to access the program earlier this year through its purchase of an available, vacant building in the community that will support the company’s planned expansion and job creation.
“We are extremely fortunate to have so many examples of successful and community-minded businesses in the City of Stewartville” said CEDA team member Stetson. “These companies are not only creating new career opportunities within our City, but they are also continuing to innovate and transform their industries. This program is just one way that the City is able to demonstrate its support of and commitment to these important businesses.”
With their impending growth and expansion, HALCON and GEOTEK are both hiring now. Check out their websites for job postings at: http://www.halconfurniture.com/ and http://www.geotekinc.com/careers.html