Land O’Lakes plans $80 million growth
ST. PAUL -- Land O'Lakes' already big footprint in Arden Hills is about to grow. One of the northern suburb's biggest employers recently announced plans to move ahead with an $80 million expansion at its corporate headquarters on Lexington Avenue...
ST. PAUL -- Land O’Lakes’ already big footprint in Arden Hills is about to grow.
One of the northern suburb’s biggest employers recently announced plans to move ahead with an $80 million expansion at its corporate headquarters on Lexington Avenue, according to Arden Hills and the company.
The new square footage will allow the company to house employees now split between Arden Hills and Shoreview, while also making room for the company to add at least 200 jobs over the next few years.
The company touted Arden Hills’ central location, local partnerships it’s formed over the years with public and private entities, and its deep roots in the state as the driving forces behind the decision to grow in place in the suburban community.
“We were founded in Minnesota 95 years ago by a group of milk producers who wanted to build a cooperative to effectively market their products. We proudly carry on that tradition,” the company said in a written statement released by spokeswoman Rebecca Lentz.
Arden Hills Mayor David Grant said the city welcomed the news.
“We are very glad that (Land O’ Lakes) is staying in Minnesota and certainly in Arden Hills,” Grant said. “We look forward to them … increasing good paying jobs (in our area).”
The announcement followed a vote by the Ramsey County Board in April to give the company a 15-year tax abatement on the expansion not to exceed $1.5 million.
It was the first time the county granted a tax break to spur economic development.
The city of Arden Hills and the Mounds View school district also approved tax abatements for the project.
Land O’Lakes will continue to pay taxes on its existing buildings.
Project plans, which are still subject to city approval, include building a four-story, 155,000-square-foot office building on the company’s Arden Hills campus, which is already home to a four-story, 200,000-square-foot headquarters building, along with a smaller research and development facility and a 900-stall parking lot, according to documents under review by the city.
The company also is proposing to construct another roughly 1,700-stall parking lot.
The Land O’Lakes campus is spread out over a 50-acre site north of Interstate 694 in Arden Hills.
When the project is complete, the company expects to employ about 2,100 people at the site, including the 900 who now work out of leased buildings in Shoreview. Land O’Lakes employs about 1,800 people locally.
The new jobs are to pay at least $19.30 an hour, according to information previously provided to Ramsey County.
The total capacity at the expanded campus is expected to be about 2,500.
If all necessary approvals are secured by the city, work on phase 1 of the expansion will start in July. Construction of the new building is scheduled to begin in November and wrap up in February of 2018.
Tentative building plans include a reception area, credit union, child care area, medical clinic, workout facilities and a conference center on the first floor of the new office. The upper floors would house offices and meeting space, according to planning documents submitted by Land O’Lakes to the city.
The company also plans to renovate its existing headquarters building in 2018.
The Arden Hills Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on phase one of the work - the parking lot construction and site improvements - Wednesday evening, with a final vote on that portion of the plan expected to go before the city council in late June, a city staff member said.
The council will likely vote on the rest of the project plans in late July.
Land O’Lakes has been headquartered in Arden Hills since the early 1980s.
The company is a member-owned cooperative with more than 10,000 employees worldwide. It netted $13 billion in 2015, according to its website.