Archive for Thursday, March 8, 2001

Intervet to bring plant to DeSoto

March 8, 2001

Intervet Inc. ended four months of suspense Wednesday when it announced DeSoto would be the home of its Midwest research and distribution campus.

Last November, Intervet official Paul Blotkamp told the city council that DeSoto was one of two cities being considered as a site for one of the company's three U.S. regional facilities. The campus-like development will include a distribution center, administrative offices, production facility and research and development facility, Blotkamp said.

The campus will be located on the old 315-acre Bayer horse serum complex in southwest DeSoto that Intervet purchased last summer. When fully developed, Intervet will employ 198 people at the campus with an average salary of $40,000 a year, Blotkamp said.

In an attempt to lure the company, the DeSoto City Council granted the Netherlands-based animal health pharmaceutical company 75-percent, 10-year tax abatements on the $28.5 million in new buildings it plans for the campus and $9.5 million in personal property.

In a press release announcing his company's decision, Intervet President Klaus Olbers said DeSoto was an ideal home for the campus.

"Intervet is excited to bring this new facility to the Kansas City area," he said. "The region is central to a significant portion of our customer base and has long held a strong association with agriculture and the animal health industry. With this project, our operations will be further streamlined."

The company's workforce will include 100 Johnson County employees that came to Intervet through its recent purchase of several Bayer Animal Health product lines. Another 70 will relocate from a company-owned facility in Dallas Center, Iowa.

Although Wednesday's announcement made Intervet's decision official, there have been signs the company planned to locate in DeSoto. Intervet submitted site plans for the campus to the DeSoto Planning Commission, which were approved with stipulations last month. Also, Intervet never made a tax abatement request to Dallas Center, the other city said to be in consideration for the campus.

Mayor Steve Prudden said Intervet represented the type of quality development the city strives to recruit.

"We welcome Intervet's decision to build in DeSoto," he said. "We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with a major player in the global animal health industry. Intervet will not only bring higher paying jobs to DeSoto, but will help diversify the tax base for our community."

DeSoto Chamber of Commerce President Pat Atchison and Economic Development Director Marge Morse said they looked forward to working with Intervet and its employees. They said the community would help to make their transitions as smooth as possible.

The Intervet decision starts the clock ticking for the city. City Administrator Gerald Cooper said the city now has a year to meet its commitment to supply the company with 30 million gallons of water annually.

The city hopes to meet that demand, which is beyond its current capacity, by installing a waterline from the water treatment plant on the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant to the Intervet site. The waterline would cost approximately $500,000, Cooper said. At the same time, the city would perform about $750,000 of improvements at the water treatment plant and the wells along the Kansas River that supply it, he said.

The waterline would serve the rest of DeSoto, which faces water shortages during summer months. It is anticipated water sales to Intervet will pay for the new distribution line.

Meanwhile, Cooper said the city has other work to do. It must extend 91st Street and water, sewer and gas utilities approximately 500 feet to the Intervet entrance, he said.

"We're going to be busy for a little while," the city administrator said.

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