RDA Happenings December 2017

RDA Happenings December 2017 Main Photo

31 Dec 2017


RDA Happenings

What an exceptional year for Emporia. The Simmons Pet Food expansion announcement on November 1st was huge. The ½-Cent City Sales Tax for industrial development was approved by 74% of the voters, sun-setting on December 31, 2034. Then Emporia had three high-quality recruitment projects and we made the short-list.

Simmons Pet Food Expansion

On November 1st Simmons Pet Food announced the Emporia Flexible Packaging facility expansion. This expansion will add substantial capacity for the wet pet food cup, tub, and pouch packaging format for Simmons customers.

The investment is in excess of $39,000,000 with the construction of a new 200,000 sq. ft. production facility, and state of the art processing and packaging equipment. The facility will be north of the Simmons 1300 East Logan Avenue facility. A 121,000 sq. ft. building addition on the 1400 East Logan Avenue facility is proceeding.

The Emporia Simmons Pet Food campus, will be on 130-acres, with combined square footage in excess of 900,000 sq. ft. in all three buildings.

Today’s full-time employment at Emporia Simmons Pet Food campus is in excess of 500 full-time employees. This initial expansion of 100 employees, has the potential of an additional 100 employees in the next 3 to 5 years. The projected estimated annual payroll with the additional 100 employees is $39,442,000 and in the future with the 200 additional employees is $45,277,000.

Simmons considered other locations for this project. We made the strong case for Emporia, and at the end of the day, Simmons chose to continue investing in Emporia. It’s been a mutually beneficial partnership for the past 20 years. We look forward to a continuing partnership for many decades in the future.

Our metrics of quality job creation, capital investment in real estate, buildings, and equipment, and total square footage are measured annually. Year to date totals are tabulated from the beginning of the sales tax in 1995. The year to date total capital investment is $968,689,000 with the construction of over 2,566,168 sq. ft. of buildings, and the creation of over 2,000 new full-time jobs. Since 2013, 900 of those 2,000 jobs have been created.

With that exceptional Return on Investment, and the announcement of the Simmons Pet Food project, the ½-Cent City Sales Tax was approved by 74% of the voters. This will provide a funding stream to the continued quality higher-salary job growth, capital investment increases the real property tax base, and a growing economy.

Animal Health Corridor/Pet Nutrition

Years ago at a Kansas City Area Development Council meeting, Bob Marcusse, the former KCADC President, was giving a presentation on how the Animal Health Corridor was identified as a strong brand for the Kansas City region.

KCADC had that eureka moment when several animal health and nutrition business leaders indicated that the majority of the animal health companies, have a presence in the area from Columbia, Missouri, to Manhattan, Kansas, and from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Emporia, Kansas. According to the 2014 Corridor Asset survey, the KC Animal Health Corridor represented 56% of the total worldwide animal health, diagnostics, and pet food sales.

In June 1994, we were contacted by the pet food company, which is Simmons Pet Food today, about the possibility of locating a new facility in Emporia. It only took three years for us to convince them to locate in July 1997.

Today, we realize that Emporia has a strong growth in pet nutrition. In 1994, we had Safeway Pet Food, which is now Cargill Pet Food with 41 employees. Today, there are 766 pet nutrition employees in Emporia, with the projected growth in the near future of 825, and in the next several years, over 925 employees, with an estimated $60 million annual payroll.

Back in 1994, the annual property taxes collected for the Emporia Pet Nutrition business was approximately $82,000. With the growth of the pet nutrition business over $1,430,337 will be collected annually. Of that amount, 38%, or $543,528 goes to the Emporia schools (USD #253), Lyon County receives 36%, or $514,921, the City of Emporia receives 25%, or $357,584 and 19%, or $14,304 is received by the State of Kansas.

The Emporia Pet Nutrition business accounts for 7% of the total workforce in the City of Emporia.

The metrics the RDA utilizes to determine the Return on Investment (ROI) are: number of jobs created, average annual salaries, total annual payroll, and property taxes paid. These are measurable. Rarely do we use economic impact numbers.

Quality Projects

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, Emporia/Lyon County competed for three high-quality projects. Two U.S. corporations, and one Asian corporation. All three companies visited Emporia, we made the short-list with all three final location decisions were made before the end of the year. Simmons Pet Food was one of the projects. The other two chose sites in Kentucky, and Missouri. In our debriefing with those two project contacts, Emporia/Lyon County was eliminated based on factors beyond our control.

Happy holidays to all.