East Lake Industrial Park makes headway

Saturday, October 19, 2013
FedEx is the first business to be located in Spirit Lake's East Lake Industrial Park. The city made a push to get the property ready for the FedEx location, which now serves northern Iowa and southern Minnesota.

A company known for overnight deliveries recently completed a much more methodical process in the Iowa Great Lakes.

FedEx is the the first business to call Spirit Lake's new East Lake Industrial Park home.

The business enjoyed a soft opening a few months ago in the new business park. The city-owned land is roughly 130-acres in size. Initial estimates for the project came in at around $975,000.

The idea for the industrial park, which is located north of Highway 9 and just east of 255th Avenue -- was hatched in late 2011 and construction on sewage lines and new streets began in late 2012. FedEx approached the city even before surveyors plotted the boundary lines.

The company's 3.5-acre, FedEx Ground location serves northern Iowa and southern Minnesota.

"I felt things went pretty well," said Spirit Lake City Administrator Mark Stevens. "The biggest issue we had was: They wanted the property before we had even purchased it. We had a short time-frame to put everything together and get things to where they needed to be."

Stevens said they have developed four lots totaling roughly 30 acres at East Lake Industrial Park. Eight additional lots could be developed as the need arises. The city administrator has received some early inquiries from interested companies.

"Initially, we have only developed four lots on the west side. We have a long way to go but we have started the process," Stevens said. "It's intended to be a very long-term project, there's no hurry to do a lot of things out there. What we intend to do is try and respond to people that want the development."

Phase one, which includes sewer lines, lighting and street installation is complete. The city received a $150,519 grant from the Iowa Transportation Commission in late 2012 to help develop approximately 740 feet of roadway.

"The next step is we are going to do some more storm water and drainage work, primarily on the west side," Stevens said. "Those four lots will be ready and we plan to put up some signage advertising the open lots. Essentially, we will be ready to respond when a company talks about relocating here."

The city of Spirit Lake is partnering with the Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative and the Spirit Lake Development Corporation to bring the land up to satisfactory industrial codes and prepare for any future businesses. Adding FedEx to the East Lakes Industrial Park serves a dual purpose and is another step in improving the business industry in Spirit Lake.

"A business like FedEx specifically, they serve a large number of other businesses," Stevens said. "In that case, it's important to have fast and reliable delivery services. What they've done, they outgrew the facility they were in on Hudson Avenue and they invested a lot of money on their own. They have a brand new building that is good for the community and the space they left is available for others that might want to use it."

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