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Posted by Joe Bell on May 18, 2018
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Dubuque company announces plans for new $20 million facility, will add 100-plus jobs

  • BY JEFF MONTGOMERY ​jeff.montgomery@thmedia.com
  • Mar 16, 2018

 

A medical supply company plans to add more than 100 jobs and invest nearly $20 million in a new Dubuque facility.

Medline Industries, Inc., hopes to break ground on a new, 130,000-square-foot building in Dubuque Industrial Center West this summer. The company would begin operating within the new structure in late 2019.

The project is contingent on financial support from both local and state entities.

Renee Poppe, vice president of customer service for Medline, informed employees of the plans for a new facility Thursday afternoon.

“They were so excited about it,” Poppe said. “They’ve earned it, and this is a dream come true for us. I think this shows how committed our team is and how committed Medline is to growing what we have created here in Dubuque.”

Medline Industries currently employs 481 people at its Dubuque customer service facility, located at 7900 Chavenelle Road.

The new facility would be located on Innovation Drive, just north of Green Industrial Supply Inc., and west of a Fed Ex Ground facility. Medline will invest an estimated $19.6 million in the structure and plans to add 105 jobs.

Dan McDonald, vice president of existing business for Greater Dubuque Development Corp., said the proposed expansion underscores Medline’s strong ties to Dubuque.

“If you look at just the last 10 years, this is their second brand-new facility and campus they have created,” he said. “I think that clearly shows that Medline loves the Dubuque market and is committed to the Dubuque market.”

INCENTIVES PENDING

Consideration of project incentives will begin Monday, when Dubuque City Council members are expected to endorse Medline’s application to the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

City Council members also are expected to set a public hearing for May 21, during which they officially will weigh in on the sale of city-owned land and a development agreement with Medline.

On Friday, March 23, the IEDA will consider a request for more than $1.5 million in financial assistance. This includes an investment tax credit estimated at $1.13 million and a sales, service use tax refund of $432,000.

Medline’s application indicates starting wages for the new positions would range from $16.29 to $25.80 per hour.

Proposed incentives from the City of Dubuque include a 10-year tax-increment financing rebate for $3.6 million to $3.9 million. City leaders also will consider discounting Medline’s land purchase by 50 percent, a move that would knock about $1.2 million off the $2.4 million sale price.

City Manager Mike Van Milligen noted that the Medline facility, much like the new Flexsteel facility under construction, would be built in a city-owned industrial park.

He said these projects highlight the importance of the city’s investment in these swaths of land.

“Without these industrial parks, there would be nowhere for existing employers to expand and for new employers to look to call Dubuque home,” Van Milligen wrote in an email.

Mayor Roy Buol also praised the Medline project.

“The jobs numbers are significant, and I think it is going to be great for Dubuque,” he said.

Medline also has issued a request for more than $680,000 in job training funds. Approval of these dollars ultimately would come from Northeast Iowa Community College.

RAPID GROWTH

Medline opened its first Dubuque office in 2000, starting with only 25 workers. Within a decade, employment at the company had swelled to 275 employees.

The company opened a new, 66,000-square-foot facility on Chavenelle Road in 2009 and has remained there since. Poppe confirmed Medline will vacate its existing Dubuque facility once the new one opens, but did not offer specifics on the fate of the Chavenelle Road structure.

The new facility will boast nearly twice the square footage as the existing one and will allow Medline to provide a wide range of amenities for its workers.

The new structure will include a cafeteria, fitness center and gymnasium, according to Poppe. Plans also call for a pond and walking trail outside the facility, features which Poppe believes will support the already positive culture at Medline.

“We feel this will allow them to take a step away from their work, get some fresh air and then get back into the work that we do,” she said.

Medline would invest $19.6 million in the new facility, according to the company’s application to the IEDA. This includes $11.4 million spent on building construction.

Land acquisition and site preparation would cost $1.2 million and $3 million, respectively. An additional $4 million would be spent on furniture, fixtures and computer hardware.

Site plans submitted for the project also show room for a possible 30,000-square-foot expansion in the future.

Rick Dickinson, president and CEO of Greater Dubuque Development Corp., said the potential for more growth in the future is part of what makes the project exciting.

“They are building this not to end, but to begin their growth,” Dickinson said.

 

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