City wants developer with DOD deal to consider Spencer property

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Spencer hopes a private developer will consider the town as a location for a facility that would produce microelectronics for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Last week, the Spencer City Council approved by a 7-0 vote the signing of a non-binding letter of intent that states if Spencer’s site is chosen as a location, then the city will provide 10 acres of land for development at no cost to the developer.

The city has submitted a parcel in the Green Industrial Center on the east side of town for consideration.

“It’s probably a long shot, but if we don’t take the opportunity we won’t know,” Spencer City Manager Amanda Mack said.

The developer, Jeff Robinson, an Estherville native, announced last year a deal with the DOD to build the first of 150 microelectronic production facilities in Estherville.

The Estherville News reported earlier this month that the facility there is expected to be 75,000 square feet and employ 25% local people for jobs averaging salaries of $60,000 per year. The remaining 75% of the expected workforce will be brought in from elsewhere.

At the Spencer City Council meeting last week, Mack said the Estherville facility is expected to create 45 to 60 jobs.

Spencer would hope for similar numbers.

“In the RFP, they state two to 200 jobs, which is a pretty wide range,” Mack said. “They won’t tell us exactly employees they’ll have.”

With its letter of intent, Spencer hopes to be the location of a subsequent facility.

Mayor Kevin Robinson said the city would look closer at any development deal if Spencer is chosen.

“It’s just basically an endorsement of if they choose us, we agree to do some more further due diligence,” he said.

The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation brought the opportunity to the City of Spencer’s attention.

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