City hopes key employer lands at business park

Teamvantage seeks to build large facility on Fenway Avenue

Clint Riese
Staff Writer

The largest non-retail/non-government employer in Forest Lake is poised to become the first tenant in the city’s Airport Business Park. The Forest Lake City Council will decide next month whether to donate land and $150,000 in site improvements to lure Teamvantage to build a 93,400-square-foot facility on the east side of Fenway Avenue.

Teamvantage hopes to break ground in the Airport Business Park this August. The Forest Lake company currently employs about 110 workers. (Photo by Clint Riese)

Teamvantage specializes in the manufacturing of components and assemblies for medical and defense/aerospace industries. The business currently operates in 40,000 square feet at 22455 Everton Ave. N. and employs about 110 workers.

It expects to double its employee base within the next decade.

Teamvantage’s plan

The privately held organization, which moved to Forest Lake from Hugo in 1992, unveiled its expansion plans at a joint meeting of the city council and Economic Development Authority on Monday. Teamvantage is working with the same architect and builders as Xccent used for its new headquarters in Wyoming.

The similarities do not end there, Teamvantage officials said. The building itself would be similar in size and appearance. The Xccent structure was also used to help project a valuation of nearly $4.2 million for the proposed building.

Officials hope to break ground in August and have construction wrap up at this time next year. Plans for the current facility are in the works but are not ready to be released at this time.

The new structure would initially be more spacious than Teamvantage would need, but would allow for anticipated growth. In fact, the company originally envisioned a smaller building but reconsidered after determining they might have needed to add on within only a few years.

Teamvantage’s payroll totaled approximately $6 million in 2011 and officials estimate the business contributes another $500,000 to the local economy each year through purchases.

Formerly known as Regal Plastics, Teamvantage employed 13 workers upon its move to Forest Lake.

Now, officials hope to keep the business in town, though they say other communities are actively seeking it to relocate.

City incentives

On the city’s end, there are a number of hurdles to clear before dirt can be moved. City Administrator Aaron Parrish laid out on Monday the case for providing incentives for Teamvantage to build here.

The company, he noted, is a significant employer that could add a large amount to the local tax base.

A side benefit, Parrish felt, is that the move could spur interest in the business park near the airport, which has long sat empty.

“Really, as you’re aware, we’ve been trying to get the Airport Business Park kicked off and get that positioned for a successful long-term future in Forest Lake,” he said. “To do that we’ve made attempts to be very aggressive given the environment we’re working in.”

According to the proposed development agreement, the 7.49-acre parcel will be sold for $1. The agreement will be among several documents up for consideration at the June 25 council meeting. State law also requires cities in this type of arrangement to adopt a business subsidy policy.

Also on the docket will be the development of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, which is how the city plans to recover the $150,000 of site improvements it would provide. The TIF district would run through 2024 and provide an additional $176,130 on top of the $150,000 repayment.

The parcel has a current market value of $660,400.

Councilwoman Jackie McNamara wondered whether the incentives would set a precedent which would make it hard to avoid such measures in future deals. Parrish said that in these times, that would be a good problem to have.

“I hope that this can serve as a catalyst for future development in the Airport Business Park,” he said. “This model might be something we can replicate in the future.”