More than 100 people turned out for yesterday’s invitation-only groundbreaking for Iowa Fertilizer Company’s production plant.
The $1.4-billion facility will be built along 180th Street, roughly one-mile south of Wever.
The speakers during the event included Governor Terry Branstad, Economic Development Director Debi Durham, and Ag Secretary Bill Northey.
They were joined onstage by Nassef Sawiris, who heads IFC’s parent company, Orascom Construction Industries.
Branstad says the plant is a great accomplishment for Lee County and southeast Iowa.
“Orascom Construction Industries is an international leader in fertilizer and construction,” says Branstad, “and its projects and investments span across the world. We are glad they have chosen southeast Iowa as the site for the fertilizer plant.”
The Governor says the entire state will feel the benefits of the plant.
“In addition to the initial $1.4-billion investment, Iowa Fertilizer Company has made a Buy Iowa pledge so there will be more opportunities for Iowa businesses to do work here.”
Sawiris says Lee County was selected because of transportation access and Iowa’s work ethics and values.
He tried to alleviate some of the concerns of the plant’s potential neighbors.
“Iowa Fertilizer Company will use state of the art technology to ensure that it will be the safest and most efficient plant in the United States,” says Sawiris.
The new plant is expected to create 2,500 temporary construction jobs, 165 full-time jobs, and 700 supplemental jobs.
Sawiris expects vertical construction at the plant to take place in the spring with completion slated for Summer 2015.