Archived Story

Port Authority discusses $1M, 30,000-square-foot facility

Published 10:58am Thursday, April 25, 2013

Local economic developers hope to lure more business to Austin.

The Development Corporation of Austin told the Austin Port Authority at its meeting Wednesday it hopes to build a roughly 30,000-square foot facility along Highway 218 just south of Smyth Companies in the Cook Farm Industrial Park. While the project is still in the planning stages, DCA Executive Director John Garry said, it could cost about $1 million to build and could house several businesses. The building would be 27- to 32-feet tall, according to Garry.

“We’re coming up on a time where we can bite off another project of this magnitude,” Garry said.

The point of the facility is to have space available before businesses call looking for a new home, as most are looking for an existing structure, not land. Garry said most inquiries he gets are for smaller industrial space, between 4,000 and 8,000 square feet. Right now, he said there really isn’t anything of that size available in Austin.

The DCA would have to purchase land owned by the Port Authority for the project. The Port Authority took no action on Wednesday, but Garry said he would like to move forwardon the project by the end of the summer. They haven’t discussed how to finance the building yet.

The DCA also partnered with the Port Authority to attract businesses to a 25,000-square-foot facility at 1805 14th St. NE — the former home of Corporate Graphics — several years ago, which resulted in GoBe Golf, Ellumilite and Lipid Technologies, a scientific research business, choosing Austin.

Leading the Hormel Institute expansion

City Administrator Jim Hurm says The Hormel Institute expansion needs a project manager.

Hurm told the Port Authority Wednesday the position will be needed as work on the project picks up. He expects the job to be about five to 15 hours per week.

The Port Authority tabled the motion for its next meeting so Hurm could put together a written agreement.

The Hormel Institute is planning a $27-million expansion, which could add 15 state-of-the-art laboratories and bring about 120 new jobs to Austin. The Institute got $13.5 million in state funding, with the rest coming from a Port Authority bonding issuance to The Hormel Foundation.

The expansion, originally slated for this spring, has been pushed back to early 2014.

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