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Fair Oaks Foods announces $134 million investment in new food production facility in Davenport

Fair Oaks Foods announces $134 million investment in new food production facility in Davenport
Posted on 06/14/2022
Mayor Mike Matson announce Fair Oaks Foods announces $134 million investment in new food production facility in Davenport.

June 14, 2022 - Fair Oaks Foods is planning to construct a state-of-the-art food production facility in Davenport, pending state and local project approvals. The $134 million investment includes a 150,000 square-foot facility in the Eastern Iowa Industrial Center and will create an estimated 247 new full-time jobs. The company plans to start operations in early 2024.  View location map | View building rendering 1 | View building rendering 2

Fair Oaks Foods, headquartered in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, is a family-owned meat processing company and the 11th largest Black-owned business in the U.S. Founded in 1985, it produces and supplies a variety of protein products, including bacon, meatballs, pork and turkey sausage to food service, national grocery stores and quick serve restaurants globally. The Davenport facility will be an expansion of the company’s current capabilities and produce fully-cooked bacon.

Construction is anticipated to begin this summer on a 32-acre site near Interstate 80. This development is expected to have an annual economic impact of $182 million, making it the largest business attraction project in the region’s history.

“I am extremely excited to expand our business to the great city of Davenport. We look forward to a long-standing relationship with the QC community, the City and the State of Iowa. My dream is to build a long standing ‘Legacy’ family business. The opportunity that the city has extended to us is the right fit, at the right time, for Fair Oaks Foods. It will be a great opportunity for our people to live and thrive in this region. We look forward to providing new jobs and opportunities for the community. Davenport is a great place for families, and I am proud to add the Fair Oaks Foods family to the state of Iowa,” said Michael L. Thompson, CEO & President of Fair Oaks Foods.
 
The project was announced during a press conference on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 with representatives from Fair Oaks Foods, the City of Davenport, the Greater Davenport Redevelopment Corporation (GDRC) and the Quad Cities Chamber. 

“I am excited to welcome Fair Oaks Foods to Davenport and the Eastern Iowa Industrial Center,” said Davenport Mayor Mike Matson. “Their investment in our community shows that the QC and Davenport is the ideal place for companies to locate and grow businesses. We look forward to this project adding to the vibrancy of our local economy.” 
The Davenport City Council is expected to vote on a resolution of support and financial commitment on Wednesday, June 15. If approved, the City would provide a 60% Tax Increment Finance (TIF) rebate to the company for 15 years, minus $1.1 million for the upfront cost of a pretreatment facility. 

Fair Oaks Foods has also applied for a $3.4 million sales tax refund on construction materials from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), which is expected to consider the application Friday, June 17. 

The company expects to hire 247 employees and offer competitive wages and benefits for a range of positions, including production, warehousing, sanitation, maintenance and plant management and support. 

“Fair Oaks Foods prides itself on the relationships that it holds. We continue to build our Legacy through strategic partnerships that share our values of trust and integrity. This was one of the main pillars when we chose The Austin Company to guide us in our search for a location to support our growth. The search started with over 177 sites in the Midwest and ended in Davenport. This is a community that mirrors our values and work ethic, and we are excited to make Davenport home to our future growth,” said Joseph M. Freda, COO of Fair Oaks Foods.

The project began in June 2021 when the IEDA issued a request for proposals. In addition, The Austin Company, which was familiar with the region, connected with the Chamber to inquire about potential sites, said Mike Oberhaus, the Chamber’s Interim CEO & Chief Strategy Officer. The Chamber collaborated and aligned with City and community partners and submitted a proposal.

In July 2021, at the request of the site selector, the Chamber organized a site visit with company representatives and the consultant, convening representatives from the City, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and utility providers to discuss the project. The Chamber coordinated a second site visit in August 2021. Oberhaus said Fair Oaks Foods made the decision based on several factors including the QC’s highly-skilled workforce, close proximity of suppliers, securing a certified site with room for expansion, and the region’s close-knit community and culture. 

In addition, the company was seeking a region where it could be involved and give back to the community.

“Projects like these are highly competitive and require coordination and collaboration among many partners to complete months of data gathering, resource reviews, meetings and providing a multitude of information to answer all of the questions of the potential company,” Oberhaus said. “We welcome Fair Oaks Foods to the region. We are highly optimistic the pending approvals will be received.” 

Fair Oaks Foods has retained The Austin Company as design-builder for the project. It expects to close on the land purchase with the GDRC, a non-profit organization that owns the available sites in the Eastern Iowa Industrial Center. 

The City plans to apply for a Revitalizing Iowa’s Sound Economy (RISE) grant to assist with road improvements near the facility.