Diamond V Mills seeks state, local help for new HQ project

The Diamond V Corporate headquarters building at 838 First St. NW in the Time Check neighborhood had a prior value of $1
The Diamond V Corporate headquarters building at 838 First St. NW in the Time Check neighborhood had a prior value of $1,153,969 and reassessed at $1,810,000. Photographed Tuesday, March 15, 2011, in northwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/SourceMedia Group News)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Diamond V Mills has applied for state and local funds to assist with a new $4.5 million headquarters and $12.5 million production expansion in southwest Cedar Rapids.

The expansion will create 12 new positions, according to Priority One, the economic development division of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, which assisted Diamond V with its application.

The project is contingent on local and state incentives, including tax credits and indirect financing, Priority One leaders said.

Diamond V manufactures and markets nutritional fermentation products for animal nutrition and health. It is a family owned business with a 68-year history.

The Diamond V world headquarters building at 838 First St. NW is a stone’s throw from the Cedar River. The company restored the building soon after the flood and had resisted a buyout by the City of Cedar Rapids for flood protection purposes.

Diamond V CEO John Blooomhall said the company decided instead to build a new headquarters after new flood plain maps were released showing the 838 First St. headquarters in the 100-year flood plain instead of the 500-year flood plain as it was previously.

The company’s perspective also changed after a Local Option Sales Tax referendum to fund mainly flood protection on both sides of the Cedar River failed this spring, leaving no certainty about when flood control measures would be improved, according to Bloomhall.

“We have new information and we have to make new decisions,” Bloomhall said. He added that he is still “very much concerned” about flood protection on the west side of the river because of the need to protect Diamond V’s older plant at 436 G Ave. NW, which primarily makes the company’s specialty products.

Diamond V Mills, with about 90 employees, has operated the plant for at least 65 years. The company completed a new $25 million manufacturing facility in 2009 a 2575 60th Ave. SW to manufacture its highest volume products.

The new 16,500-square-foot headquarters will be located just north of the new 60th Avenue plant. It will feature geothermal heating and cooling and many other environmentally beneficial features, Bloomhall said.

The manufacturing expansion will be entirely within the walls of the new 60th Avenue plant, with the only square footage needed for materials storage.

“The project is another example of the continued innovation and growth of industrial biotechnology in our region,” said Dee Baird, president of Priority One, in prepared remarks. “Diamond V is globally recognized as an industry leader. We are pleased to see a privately owned company headquartered in Cedar Rapids continue to make a long-term investment in our community.”

Bloomhall was optimistic that the project will receive state and local support, citing the company’s $12 million investment in a new Embria Health facility in Ames in 2007 and $25 million investment in the new south Cedar Rapids plant in 2009.“This company has been investing significantly in Iowa,” Bloomhall said. “The economic incentives help us do that, and it creates good jobs for Iowa.”

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