STEWARTVILLE — The Stewartville City Council has taken the initial steps to help a major employer in town grow even more.
Geotek Inc., which designs, manufactures and sells fiberglass components for the electric utility and animal containment markets, is planning for the next phase of its expansion and renovation of its facility, said Ken McDonald, vice president of finance and administration for Geotek.
“We are busting at the seams currently at our building,” McDonald said.
The expansion would add 65,000 square feet to Geotek’s current space, specifically the former Rochester Medical/Bard building the company purchased last June.
Geotek began operations at the newly purchased building in March, he said, but the company still needs more space as its sales continue to grow.
That building is already undergoing a 10,000-square-foot expansion as part of a phase I expansion of the facility, McDonald said, and the new plans would add enough space to bring that building up to roughly 140,000 square feet of space, raising Geotek’s total footprint to 230,000 square feet.
Joya Stetson, the economic development director for the city, said the item on Tuesday night’s agenda is an early step in creating a tax-increment finance district for Geotek, though the amount of money generated by the TIF district has not been determined.
Initial plans would be to conduct public hearings for the TIF district and a business subsidy during the Aug. 13 city council meeting, then approve or deny the funding assistance to the company during the same meeting.
“It’s a building expansion, it’ll create jobs and it’ll significantly increase tax base for the community,” Stetson said.
The TIF district would be tied to an increase of 18 jobs, Stetson said, and Geotek is planning to add another 12 jobs before then that are not connected to the TIF funding.
McDonald confirmed the job numbers — bringing Geotek’s total to about 380 full-time employees — adding that the expansion would be a $5.9 million project as it is currently envisioned. The additional space is not just for new employees but to give more space for the work of existing employees and manufacturing.
“We do have some new products we launched in the last year,” McDonald said. “It’s a growing business, and we’re seeing an increased demand for our products.”
Geotek had researched some regional and out-of-state sites for expansion, but the company approached the city of Stewartville to expand its current campus rather than build elsewhere.
McDonald noted that the company, while located in Stewartville, draws employees from as far as Plainview to work in its manufacturing facility, making it a true regional employer.