WATERLOO — A meatpacking company could be returning to the former Rath Packing Co. site.
Waterloo City Council members voted unanimously Monday to rezone 2.5 acres of land near Vinton and Sycamore streets for a beef processing plant to be constructed by an unidentified out-of-state developer.
Officials with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber, who are working with the developer, said the project would create at least 71 jobs. The starting annual salary for 55 of those positions would be $39,200 with benefits.
“In addition to the possibility of attracting a new business to Waterloo this project will directly benefit three existing Waterloo businesses already in the supply chain, creating and contributing to Waterloo and the Cedar Valley’s economy,” said GCVA representative Bob Smith.
Crystal Distribution Services owns the site, which is directly south of the company’s offices and cold storage building.
Crystal President Tom Poe said he became acquainted with the businessman looking for a site to develop the organic beef processing facility, noting he fell in love with the location.
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“Not only do we have the infrastructure in place adjacent to our facility, the available work force in the neighborhood is a big draw to him,” Poe said. “It would enhance our business and bring in other surrounding businesses such as trucking, hotels and restaurants.”
Poe said he’s helping line up construction contractors for the project, noting the developer was anxious to begin soon. It was unclear Monday whether a development agreement would be returning to the City Council or Iowa Economic Development Authority first.
Poe noted the rezoning returns the land back to the “M2” zoning that existed when the Rath Packing Co. was operating its hog processing plant.
Crystal Distribution has utilized some of the buildings vacated following Rath’s 1985 bankruptcy and constructed new buildings on a portion of the site where the city demolished others.
The developer has already met with city staff to ensure the area has adequate sewer and water infrastructure to support the plant.