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BOARD ACTION: Board approves awards to support nearly $58 million in capital investments in Iowa and makes final award to the Grinnell Reinvestment District

For more information contact:

Tina Hoffman, Iowa Economic Development Authority
Phone:   515.725.3150, mobile 515.783.8225

Economic Development Board approves awards to support nearly $58 million in capital investments in Iowa and makes final award to the Grinnell Reinvestment District

September 16, 2016 (DES MOINES, IA) – The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board awarded direct financial assistance and tax benefits to three companies for job creation and expansion projects. These awards will assist in the creation of 31 jobs, retention of 10 jobs and will result in $58 million in new capital investment for the state. The board also approved awards for five startups and one entrepreneurial assistance provider.
The board approved assistance for planned or proposed projects located in Cedar Rapids, Sioux City, Storm Lake, Clive, Coralville, Des Moines and Johnston.

Diamond V expansion proposed in Cedar Rapids
The board approved tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs (HQJ) program for animal health and nutrition company Diamond V Mills’ proposal to expand its manufacturing facility in Cedar Rapids.  The project includes building an additional facility that will increase the company’s production capacity and expand research and development capabilities. The $28 million capital investment would create 16 jobs incented at a qualifying hourly wage of $24.70.
Sioux City’s TMS, Inc. and KV, LLC set to expand
Time Management Systems, Inc. (TMS) is a family-owned technology business that offers one of the leading employee time-tracking, labor tracking and door access security system technologies available on the market.  KV, LLC was created for the purpose of buying or building commercial buildings to lease to its primary business, TMS. The proposed project would include the construction of a new commercial building, which will double the size of the location TMS is currently renting in Sioux City. The board awarded TMS and KV, LLC tax benefits through the Targeted Jobs Withholding Tax Credit program for this $490,484 capital investment. The project is expected to create seven jobs, six of which are incented at a qualifying hourly wage of $18.72. In addition, 10 jobs will be retained, of which eight are incented at the same qualifying hourly wage.

Tyson receives assistance for Storm Lake expansion project
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc., owns and operates a pork processing facility in Storm Lake. This facility produces a variety of pork products which are sold to major retailers. The company has proposed an expansion that would add capacity to the company’s existing building. This $30 million capital investment project was awarded tax benefits from HQJ and is expected to create eight jobs incented at a qualifying wage of $18.35 per hour.

Awards made to five startups and one entrepreneurial assistance provider

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 Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) Fund provides financial assistance to innovative businesses 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.

The Entrepreneurial Investment Awards program (EIA) stipulates the provision of financial assistance to service providers that offer technical and financial assistance to entrepreneurs and start-up companies seeking to create, locate or expand a business in Iowa. The maximum amount that the IEDA Board will award for FY17 is $1 million. In addition, the board will award no more than $200,000 to any one service provider per fiscal year. The award is in the form of a grant.  

Award recommendations for these funds are made by the Technology Commercialization Committee (TCC) to the IEDA Board for approval.

Bublins is an online service located in Clive that helps customers identify their decor style and shop curated home decor collections designed to complete their home. These curated collections allow individuals to bring a fresh look to an existing space with items such as pillows, throws, rugs and accessories. The company was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan primarily for product refinement.

Pablow’s strengths are centered on the online travel space, airline ecommerce and travel insurance industries which have all lead to the insights underpinning the company’s innovations. The Des Moines-based business has successfully provided insurance for the car rental market in the Australia. Now, the company has turned its focus to the U.S. vacation rental market where the business aims to change the B2B travel insurance infrastructure and distribution process in order to automate a cumbersome process. Pablow was awarded a $100,000 loan from the Demonstration Fund for market planning and market entry activities, key personnel and product refinement. 

REinform (dba Structurely) was founded in Johnston in 2015 by lifelong friends and seeks to revolutionize how real estate agents generate and cultivate leads. Structurely is currently developing an artificially intelligent real estate chatbot, Holmes, which provides real estate agents and brokerages with a cross-platform, intelligent lead cultivation tool. The company was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan to be used primarily for IP development and evaluation and proof of concept work.

Cedar Rapids-based AVEX has developed repour™, a wine stopper that reduces wine waste by preserving the original aroma and taste of an opened bottle until it is ready to be enjoyed again. By actively removing oxygen from the air above wine in a recorked bottle, one repour™ stopper saves a full bottle of wine for future enjoyment. The patent pending repour™ wine stopper is significantly easier to use than existing oxygen removing devices on the market, and is also more effective at removing the oxygen according to test results. AVEX was awarded a $100,000 loan via the Demonstration Fund for market planning and market entry activities and purchasing equipment.

Viewpoint Molecular Targeting, LLC (located in Coralville) develops radiopharmaceutical drugs for therapy and diagnostic imaging for cancer with a focus on metastatic melanoma. Through the development of its first therapeutic product, Viewpoint has discovered a new technology that reduces kidney toxicity for radiopharmaceuticals. The technology has the potential not only to improve its own therapies, but also has a broader market potential to other pharmaceutical companies as a therapy for drug-induced kidney toxicity. The board awarded the company a $25,000 POCR loan to determine the commercial relevance of a new companion product that utilizes the new technology.

Welch Avenue, LLC dba Gravitate, founded in 2013, is a privately-owned small business created to help grow the Iowa entrepreneurial ecosystem. Gravitate’s service model is based on The Entrepreneur’s Journey, as developed by internationally-renowned startup accelerator and community organization Techstars. The business’ activities are centered on the idea that it takes a supportive community to grow entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ventures from step one “inspire” to step six “champion.” At each stage, different initiatives, programs and efforts are required to help firms/individuals continue to develop their ideas and move along and up the path. Gravitate was awarded a $125,000 grant from the EIA program for personnel and programming.

Grinnell Reinvestment District receives final approval
The board also approved the maximum benefit amount of $6.85 million for the Grinnell Historic Downtown and Campus Confluence Reinvestment District plan submitted by the city of Grinnell. 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 Grinnell submitted a pre-application during the 2015 annual filing window. The project received provisional approval for $6.1 million on June 19, 2015. Since that time, Grinnell project representatives have worked with IEDA staff to complete the final application for board review that included an amended request of $6.85 million from the Reinvestment District program. Final application materials were received by the deadline, and today the IEDA Board acted to award a $6.85 million maximum benefit amount contingent on the final execution of agreements and some additional documentation regarding financing. 

The Grinnell Historic Downtown and Campus Confluence Reinvestment District includes four components: redevelopment of the Grinnell Community Center as a boutique hotel and event center;  Downtown Public Investment Projects, including enhancement of Central Park with a new performance stage, pavilion, restrooms, landscaping, lighting, open air gathering space and play areas; the development of a mixed-use area at the confluence of Grinnell's Historic Downtown and the Grinnell College Campus; and Grinnell College Campus improvements, including a connection to the downtown redevelopment zone.


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