by ADAM GRUENEWALD
The sun shone brightly at a groundbreaking ceremony for Waconia Manufacturing’s new facility in the Tacoma West Industrial Park in NYA on Thursday.
About 25 people attended the event at the site of one of the largest parcels in the industrial park, including representatives from Waconia Manufacturing, the City of NYA and the NYA Chamber of Commerce.
Plans for the 67,000-square-foot facility were previously approved by the NYA City Council in April, which approved the sale of the 9.36-acre lot.
Waconia Manufacturing is a manufacturer of bulk material handling and blending systems for the fertilizer industry, and has been in business since 1959. It currently operates out of Waconia and processes work orders from all over the country. The new facility, which will be located at 680 Tacoma Blvd. in NYA, will be the company’s second facility.
As part of the agreement with the NYA Economic Development Authority, the facility will create at least 15 jobs paying an average of $20 per hour or more, including benefits, within the first two years.
Waconia Manufacturing President Troy Williams said the expansion will increase his company to more 120,000-square-foot of office and manufacturing space. The NYA location will primarily focus on manufacturing.
“We’ll be manufacturing our fertilizer and blending equipment, some large tanks, some structural steel and things like that,” he said.
Williams, who expected construction to take place over the next eight months, said they were eager to expand into NYA because of the size of the lot, which could provide some outdoor storage and future space.
“We do have a plan on it for an expansion if the business continues to grow but we don’t know when that might be,” he said. “It’s going to double our square footage. I don’t know if it’s going to double our output, but it’s a good move. We do a lot of large equipment and we do need a lot of space.”
The lot sold to Waconia Manufacturing is one of the biggest parcels remaining in the industrial park, located southeast of town.
NYA Economic Development Coordinator Christie Rock Hantge was excited about development as they had been working to sell it since the industrial park began six years ago.
“It’s spectacular,” she said. “Things are continuing to happen out here in the industrial park. Vickerman (Company) is doing their expansion this year. I think having activity out here really makes it easier to market because potential buyers can come out here and see that things are happening.”
There are roughly 54 buildable acres at the Industrial Park in all, with about half remaining.
“We’re starting to develop a little niche here,” she said. “I think NYA is really going to help the businesses in the area who want to expand but don’t have any way to do it at their current location. (Waconia Manufacturing) had a few options in Waconia, but not a lot. This is close and they can continue their operations in both communities and it’s a win-win for both cities.”
Paul Hallquist of the NYA Economic Development Commission (EDC), who also president of the State Bank in Hamburg, was excited about the addition.
“I think any type of economic activity like this is always just a real positive event for the city and the community,” he said. “The fact that economically speaking, we’ve got businesses making expansion decisions is a positive.”
The growth in the industrial park is still in accordance with the EDC’s original plan for the area, he said.
“An industrial park like this isn’t a three-year, four-year plan,” he said. “This is a long-term project… Given the last six years, to have it to be this full even is remarkable.”
Hallquist added that the expansion really provides a great benefit to the entire area.
“It’s nice we could keep them in this market because you know when they employ people, they could employ people from other than just Waconia,” he said. “They could employ people from Norwood Young America, Cologne and Plato and those places too. To have them stay here and expand here is a positive because they can continue to draw employees from this market.”
For more information on Waconia Manufacturing, visit www.waconiamfg.com.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]