The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board approved awards for two legacy companies, which will assist in the creation of 284 jobs and result in more than $85 million in new capital investment for the state. The projects are located in Cedar Rapids and Dubuque. The board also approved a Strategic Infrastructure Program grant for the University of Iowa.
Eco Lips, Inc. to expand in Cedar Rapids
Eco Lips, Inc. manufactures and distributes nationally recognized lip products under the Eco Lips label, which can be found in over 10,000 retail locations and through e-commerce platforms. The company also offers full-service manufacturing for private label and contract manufacturing customers with turn-key packaging and fulfillment solutions. With plans to purchase an existing facility in Cedar Rapids, Eco Lips will more than double the manufacturing and warehouse space to accommodate growth and expansion. The project will represent a capital investment of close to $5.6 million and will create 13 jobs incented at a qualifying wage of $23.20 per hour. The board awarded tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs (HQJ) program.
Simmons Pet Food, Inc. to establish operation in Dubuque
Simmons Pet Food, Inc. (Simmons) is the largest co-manufacturer and private label pet food maker in North America. Simmons manufactures wet and dry pet food for dogs and cats and pet treats for dogs. The company plans to increase its wet pet food production capacity with the purchase of a building and equipment for a new operation, followed by a second canning line and a 75,000 square foot expansion of the distribution center and warehouse. The project represents a $79.5 million capital investment. It was awarded tax benefits and a forgivable loan through the HQJ program. It is expected to create 271 jobs, of which 206 are incented at a qualifying wage of $20.49 per hour.
University of Iowa approved for Strategic Infrastructure Program grant
The board approved a grant for just over $2.9 million to IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa for the Iowa Wastewater and Waste-to-Energy Research Program Innovation Center and Tech Park (IWWERP) located at the Iowa City Municipal Water Resource Recovery facility. The University of Iowa will receive the funding over the course of five years for the instrumentation and equipment needed to build the facility, which will support critical fee-for-service analyses unavailable in Iowa to support local wastewater and waste-to-energy stakeholders.
A key function of the IWWERP is to provide real-world pilot scale data that can be applied by technology developers, the industry and Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources to advance the state’s ability to treat waste, generate renewable energy, protect the environment and develop the state’s economy. The facility will fill the gap in available data that small- and medium-sized technology developers need to bring innovative solutions to market for addressing Iowa’s wastewater treatment challenges.
The Strategic Infrastructure Program supports projects that develop commonly utilized assets with the goal of providing a competitive advantage to one or more private sector entities or that create necessary physical infrastructure in the state, and such projects are not adequately provided by the public or private sectors. Award recommendations for these funds are made by members of the Iowa Innovation Council and presented to the IEDA Board for approval.