Ferrara asking for tax abatement on Round Lake facility; attempting lease to AGCO to create new jobs

ROUND LAKE – Ferrara Candy Company is asking the city of Round Lake, Nobles County and the Round Lake-Brewster School District for a three-year tax abatement on their Round Lake facility, the former Farley & Sather’s facility. A hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 26.

Ferrara has been marketing the property for sale, and has been presented with an opportunity to lease the facility to AGCO, which would use the property for warehousing and potentially manufacturing. As a condition of the lease, AGCO has requested an abatement for 2014 through 2016 to offset their costs. AGCO intends to add $250,000 of building improvements in the dock and upper mezzanine areas.

If the abatement and leasing goes through as planned, AGCO anticipates adding 20 new jobs for the community, and there is potential for 30 office jobs to move from the Jackson facility to Round Lake. The manufacturing and office jobs are not expected to occur within the first six months.

According to Worthington Regional Economic Development Corporation Manager Abraham Algadi, their role in any capacity is to help bring employment to Round Lake or any other city in Nobles County. Twenty new jobs pales in comparison to what the community lost when Farley and Sather’s closed their doors, but Algadi said it’s a start that gives them a chance for more manufacturing jobs down the line.

“The building in Round Lake generates up to $48,000 a year in taxes,” Algadi said Monday. “About $13,000 or $14,000 of that goes to the state. The rest is local. That’s why each one of the three entities – the city, the county and the school district – gets a chance to say yeah or nay.”

In Ferrara’s request for the abatement, they state time is of the essence so as to prevent AGCO from securing a lease with another party outside of Round Lake.

“AGCO has communicated to Ferrara that we are not the only property owner they are working with to secure warehouse, manufacturing and office space,” the request states.

According to Algadi, the public has the absolute right to know why the entities would consider a $48,000 tax abatement.

“Why would they consider a tax abatement? The answer is we’re hoping it will create up to new jobs,” he explained. “If we can help bring employment to town, we see that as our obligation.”

Calls to AGCO and Ferrara have not yet been returned.

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