Columbia Daily Tribune
By Jodie Jackson Jr.
Moberly’s economy got a double-dose of good news yesterday, just five months after the “Magic City” landed a multinational artificial sweetener manufacturer that is expected to eventually employ 600 people.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development announced yesterday that Vest-Fiber, a company headquartered in Denmark, will create 50 local jobs and make a capital investment of $2 million to put a new manufacturing company in Moberly.
In a separate announcement, the department revealed that a 100-acre site near the Highway 63 and Highway 24 interchange has been designated as the state’s sixth “certified site.” The property, owned by the Moberly Area Economic Development Corp., is considered “development-ready,” with road access, a full range of utilities supporting infrastructure available and environmental compliance already in place.
The purpose of the certified site program is to give development professionals and business prospects an opportunity to examine sites that already have met requirements needed for development.
Vest-Fiber supplies fiberglass products and services primarily to the wind-turbine industry. Gov. Jay Nixon pointed out the Missouri Department of Economic Development courted Vest-Fiber with a number of economic incentives.
“This significant investment by a European company is more clear evidence that Missouri’s economy is on the move,” Nixon said in a news release.
The state’s incentive package consisted of $128,318 in Missouri Quality Jobs program incentives, which provide tax credits to companies that create a predetermined number of jobs, among other qualifications, as well as recruitment assistance.
Vest-Fiber plans to have the new facility in Moberly operational by February in the former Premier Paper facility at 715 Sturgeon St. The company operates state-of-the-art cutting units that process more than 7,000 tons of fabrics and convert more than 600,000 square meters of core material on a yearly basis.
Hans Leerskov Hansen, business development manager of Vest-Fiber, said in a release that Moberly has “the right skills and work ethic” that the company was looking for. “In our search for the ideal location, we found Missouri to be the strategic center of all wind-related production facilities in the USA,” he said.
Corey Mehaffy, president of Moberly Area Economic Development Corp., said the development will be the first foreign wind component investment in Missouri.
Nixon joined other state and local officials in July to announce Mamtek International, a multinational company that produces sugar substitute SweetO, planned to invest $46 million into Moberly’s economy.
Construction is under way on a 120,000-square-foot facility that will be owned by the city of Moberly and funded by bond sales and private investments.
The $8.5 million production facility that is expected to employ more than 600 people is being built at the location that received certified site designation.
A collection of local and state economic development groups, with coordination by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, put together a package of economic incentives that include tax credits, grants and other state funds.
The city of Moberly also offered grants and services in excess of $500,000.