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BOARD ACTION: Board Approves Awards to support nearly $44 million in capital investments in Iowa and makes final award to the Coralville Reinvestment District

Tina Hoffman, Iowa Economic Development Authority
Phone:   515.725.3150, mobile 515.783.8225
Economic Development Board approves awards to support nearly $44 million in capital investments in Iowa and makes final award to the Coralville Reinvestment District

June 17, 2016 (DES MOINES, IA) – The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board today awarded direct financial assistance and tax benefits to four companies for job creation and expansion projects. These awards will assist in the creation of 39 jobs, retention of nine jobs and will result in nearly $44 million in new capital investment for the state. The board also approved innovation funding for four startups.
The board approved assistance for planned or proposed projects located in Ames, Des Moines, Fairfield, Iowa City, Rock Valley, Sanborn, Sioux City and West Des Moines.
Industrial Parts Manufacturer Expanding in Fairfield
Agri-Industrial Plastics Co., located in Fairfield, is a leading industrial blow molder of large scale industrial parts, including non-automotive fuel tanks for the turf equipment, power sports, agricultural, and marine industries. The company is proposing to purchase a new co-extrusion, blow molding machine to support additional growth. The expansion will include the purchase of two new robots to support the post-mold operation trimming process. The board awarded Agri-Industrial Plastics tax benefits via the High Quality Jobs Program (HQJP) to create three new jobs that are incented at a qualifying wage of $15.93 per hour. The project is expected to have a capital investment of $4.7 million.
Sanborn Dairy Co-Op Proposing Growth
Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) is a dairy marketing cooperative owned by 2,200 Midwest dairy farm families who operate farms in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. AMPI members own 10 manufacturing plants and market cheese, butter and powdered dairy products to foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers. AMPI is proposing an expansion at its Sanborn cheese and whey facility that includes a building expansion and the addition of equipment that will help increase capacity and efficiency of the existing facility. The project, expected to result in a capital investment of $16 million, was awarded a $37,500 forgivable loan and tax benefits via the HQJP to retain nine jobs at a qualifying wage of $19.44 per hour.
Injection Molder Renovating and Expanding West Des Moines Facility
West Des Moines-based Innovative Injection Technologies, Inc. is a custom plastic injection molder supplying contract manufacturing services in the agricultural, industrial, automotive and recreational markets. The company specializes in complex, highly engineered and cosmetic plastic parts. The company is proposing to renovate, expand and connect two buildings to facilitate lean manufacturing flow and improving efficiency and meet future demand and growth. The project is expected to have a capital investment of $10.7 million and create 36 jobs, of which six are incented at a qualifying wage of $26.72 per hour. The board awarded Innovative Injection Technologies tax benefits via HQJP.
Rock Valley Company Modernizing Laser-Based Fabrication Facility
Rock Valley-based Kooima Company is a fully integrated, laser-based fabrication job shop that performs services including laser cutting, CNC machining, CNC press brake work, assembly and logistics. The proposed modernization project includes the acquisition of fiber lasers, automated storage and retrieval equipment, press brakes, and robotic welding systems over the next three years. The company was awarded tax benefits via the HQJP for this project that has a capital investment of $12.1 million.  
Awards made to four startups

The Demonstration Fund provides financial and technical assistance to encourage high-technology prototype and concept development activities that have a clear potential to lead to commercially viable products or services within a reasonable period of time.

The fund provides financial assistance to encourage commercialization activities by small and medium-sized Iowa companies in the advanced manufacturing, biosciences and information technology industries. The primary purpose of the fund is to help businesses with a high-growth potential reach a position where they are able to attract later-stage, private-sector funding.

The Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund promotes the formation and growth of businesses that engage in the transfer of technology into competitive, profitable companies that create high-paying jobs. The funds are designed to support commercializing research, launching new start-ups and accelerating private investment and industrial expansion efforts that result in significant capital investment.

The Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) Fund provides financial assistance to innovative businesses that are pursuing proof of commercial relevance and marketability of a technology.  The fund is designed to assist businesses with new technologies that have completed the proof of concept stage and are ready to be subjected to the rigors of the proof of commercial relevance stage that includes defining the market for the product and perfecting the product to meet market needs.

Award recommendations for these funds are made by the Technology Commercialization Committee (TCC) to the IEDA Board for approval.
Certintell, Inc. is a company focused on developing a smartphone application to deliver healthcare, particularly for underserved patients. The company, based in Des Moines, was awarded $100,000 from the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Launch program to increase IT support for enterprise accounts and to add a product support agent who will assist end users in operating the virtual care management system software. is a subscription-based software service that simplifies the lien waiver exchange process for builders. Based on feedback from beta testing, the team is adding budgeting, invoicing, approval and payment functionality to their lien waiver exchange with the goal of creating an automated, cloud-based disbursement platform. The board awarded the Sioux City-based company $25,000 from the Proof of Commercial Relevance program to build out and validate the platform, which aims to provide faster payments, less overhead and access to powerful data for all parties involved in the disbursement process.

Ames-based Smart Ag’s mission is to feed the world smarter by enabling automation of vital field operations. The company is seeking to commercialize a software platform that will allow farms to benefit from technical advances in machinery and easily use new high tech equipment in the future. The project was awarded $25,000 via POCR to validate its research assumptions by collaborating with Iowa State University Extension On Farms Research Program to conduct a marketing survey.
Spectator, based in Iowa City, has created an online platform built specifically for school booster clubs that allows them to streamline the process of recruiting, retaining, and communicating with their valuable donors and members. As school budgets decline across the country, Spectator aims to increase the efficiency and effectiveness with which booster clubs go about their fundraising processes. The company received a $25,000 Proof of commercial Relevance award for continued customer discovery and validation of market potential and cost structure.
Coralville Reinvestment District receives final approval
The board also approved the maximum benefit amount of $12 million for the Iowa River Landing Reinvestment District plan submitted by the City of Coralville. The Iowa Reinvestment District Program is designed to assist communities in developing transformative projects that will improve the quality of life, create and enhance unique opportunities and substantially benefit the community, region and state. The program provides for up to $100 million in new state hotel/motel and sales tax revenues to be “reinvested” within approved districts. Districts cannot exceed 25 acres in size, and must be in an Urban Renewal Area. 
Iowa Reinvestment District plans must include tax revenues generated by “new retail establishments” and “new lessors.” New retail establishments cannot exceed 50 percent of the total proposed capital investment. At least one of the new proposed projects within the district must reach a total capital investment of $10 million. And, the total amount of new tax revenues to be remitted to the municipality cannot exceed 35 percent of the total cost of all proposed projects in the district plan.
The City of Coralville submitted a pre-application during the 2015 annual filing window. The project received provisional approval for $9,532,000 on June 19, 2015. Since that time, Coralville project representatives have worked with IEDA staff to complete the final application for board review that included an amended request of $12 million from the Reinvestment District program.  Final application materials were received by the deadline, and today the IEDA board acted to award a $12 million maximum benefit amount contingent on the final execution of agreements and some additional documentation regarding financing.

This proposal includes a 6,216 seat multi-use arena and fitness/sports performance center, two additional hotels, retail and museum space, and housing.


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