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WATERLOO — Crystal Distribution Services Inc. is moving ahead with a major warehouse expansion planned nearly a decade ago.

Waterloo City Council members voted unanimously Monday to approve development incentives for the company founded in the late 1800s to build a $5.5 million, 50,000-square-foot addition on its refrigerated warehouse at Vinton and Sycamore streets.

Crystal Distribution, which has taken over large portions of the former Rath Packing Co. plant, was planning the expansion before the record 2009 floods damaged some of its facilities and led to a much smaller addition a few years later.

Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson noted the city had acquired and torn down two older Rath buildings to make way for the project.

The approved development agreement will boost the company’s assessed value in the Rath area from $5.64 million to $9.04 million. In return, the city grants 85 percent property tax rebates for the next 10 years and 20 percent rebates in an 11th year on the increased value.

The city also will buy Crystal’s current downtown warehouse operation at 70-90 Sycamore St. for $640,000, it’s appraised value, and allow the company to lease it for five years until it can consolidate that storage into other locations.

Those riverfront buildings could then be redeveloped by the city.

Finally, council members agreed to sponsor Crystal Distribution’s application for state tax credits through the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

In other business, council members unanimously approved:

A $652,000 contract with Automatic Systems Co., of Ames, to upgrade instrumentation and controls at the sewage treatment plant. The firm was the lowest bidder on the project being financed with sewer fees.

A $193,445 contract with Shive-Hattery Inc., of Cedar Rapids, to re-time downtown traffic signals. Interim Public Works Superintendent Sandie Greco said the downtown lights have not had a timing study since 1999, despite major changes in traffic patterns.

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Waterloo City Reporter

Waterloo city reporter for the Courier

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