Bushel Boy

Tomato plants grow at the Owatonna facility of Bushel Boy in this file photo from Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Bushel Boy will break ground on Wednesday, Sept. 11 on a similar facility in Mason City, Iowa. (Press file photo)

MASON CITY, Iowa — Three months after Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel announced on Facebook that an Owatonna, Minnesota-based business was looking to expand into town, the groundbreaking has been set.

At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Bushel Boy will break ground on a $35 million, 50-acre facility in Mason City, according to the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation.

In a post on Facebook, the group made the announcement, which also noted that the development would bring about 50 full-time jobs to North Iowa. According to an accompanying release, the ground-breaking commences Phase I of a three-phase project and entails development of a 16.5 acre high tech greenhouse.

Before the deal was entirely finalized, Bushel Boy President Steve Irland said that Mason City courted the company aggressively by offering new facilities to house technology and ease of access to utilities needed for their process.

Specifically, the city applied for a Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation to construct a two-lane road to serve as frontage for the facility and the city also established plans to extend water and sewer to the area.

Irland has previously said that the company, which does business with stores such as HyVee, Target and Whole Foods, was hoping to have everything up and functional by Summer 2020.

But, in the announcement, plans have shifted to October 2020 which would mean that the first harvest would be expected in December 2020.

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People's Press. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at jjackson@owatonna.com

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