Met-Con is seeking to expand the number of businesses surrounding its northwest Faribault operation, work that could bring economic development to an area that has already grown several times in recent years.

The Faribault Planning Commission earlier this week approved re-platting three lots in association with the development: One is 4 acres and expected to be acquired by Daikin Applied for its existing stormwater basin and truck staging area. A second lot, 10 acres, would be available for industrial development, and the third, 2 acres, is expected to be purchased by the city for a future water tower to service the area. Also, a 29-acre outlet, currently mainly used for farming, is expected to be re-platted in the future for industrial lots. The Faribault City Council could greenlight the changes at a meeting later this month.

Met-Con Chief Financial Officer Troy Zabinski said though there are no development plans for the 10-acre site or the outlet, re-platting makes the 10-acre site shovel ready. He said the business frequently receives inquiries about the area from businesses it has an existing relationship with or through partnerships with Rice County, Faribault or the Minnesota Department of Economic Development and Employment.

Zabinski says he sees possibilities for expansion in the area with the south metro continuing to expand closer to city limits.

“We believe it has a lot of potential for companies to locate there and expand into the future,” he said of the site.

As part of the proposed plat, a public street would extend south from the western edge of 156th St. W to the northern part of the outlet, ending with a temporary cul-de-sac. If Met-Con re-plats the outlot into buildable industrial lots, the proposed street is expected to be extended to the south end of the outlet, connecting with Acorn Trail. Met-Con owns land on both sides of Acorn Trail.

Faribault Community and Economic Development Director Deanna Kuennen said the possible expansion serves as an extension to recent nearby projects at the business park, including B&B Manufacturing, Daikin and Trystar. She noted Met-Con has been marketing and positioning the area for development for “many years,” adding the possibility of expansion fits with city plans. Faribault annexed the property in 2018.

“It’s progress, and it’s exactly what a community wants to see,” she added.

Trystar, which recently relocated to the area and expanded the existing facility, has announced that it plans to move the operations of Load Banks Direct, a Kentucky-based company it purchased last November, to its Faribault headquarters.

Met-Con, a family of commercial construction companies founded by Tom McDonough in 1978, is considered a full-service general contractor. The firm has worked on a number of major local construction projects, like the Trystar building, Randolph school, Western Avenue Marketplace in Faribault and the Rice County Government Services Building.

In 2006, when the company was looking to expand, it built on a farm McDonough had purchased a few years prior. Shortly after that, Met-Con built a distribution center for Malt-O-Meal in Faribault, doubling the size of the food manufacturing facility. Later, Malt-O-Meal sold the building to Daikin.

Faribault’s 2040 plan identifies the site as being zoned as a mix of commercial/industrial, with the latter more heavily used.

Late last month, Faribault received a $2 million grant to help fund the new water tower from the Business Development Public Infrastructure Program through DEED. The City Council approved plans for the water tower in 2019 with an expected completion date of July 2021. However, the project was delayed by about a year as the city worked to select a final location, design the new water tower and secure the grant dollars needed to pay for it. Groundbreaking could now take place this summer with completion in 2022. The city is expected to request bids for the water tower in June.

Reach Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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