Week of April 15, 2002
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Third Expansion in Six Years
DNA Manufacturer IDT Announces $52M, 200-Employee Iowa Expansion
By JACK LYNE, Site Selection Executive Editor of Interactive Publishing
IDT's latest expansion will add 200 new jobs. Most skew toward the high-skill end of the labor pool. Scientists, engineers and information technology specialists will fill most of the new slots, adding $7.5 million to the company's payroll, according to IDT CFO Alan Siegal. And IDT has positioned itself to tap high-skill labor. The Coralville operation is located near the University of Iowa, which has one of the largest U.S. medical complexes and medical teaching facilities.
"IDT is helping the state retain some of its brightest scientists and engineers by providing high-tech, high-income employment opportunities to university graduates in the life science and computer technology areas," Siegal said.
New Space Online in 2005The 200 new employees will join IDT's 254 current Coralville workers. The Skokie, Ill.-based company has another 80 employees at its Chicago-metro operations base.
IDT's Illinois roots trace back to its 1987 founding. The company was spun off from research that Joseph Walder, now IDT's president and CEO, was doing for Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter Healthcare.
The expansion of IDT's 43,500-sq.-ft. (3,915-sq.-m.) Iowa operation will be completed in 2005, company officials said. IDT is already tight for space at its Iowa production base. The company is building a 4,000-sq.-ft. (360-sq.-m.) warehouse at its Coralville location, and it's leasing 4,500 sq. ft. (405 sq. m.) of office and warehouse space in Tiffin, another Iowa City suburb. IDT will use its 80,000 new sq. ft. to expand DNA production and to develop new production methods and products, company officials said.
The company's current linchpin product is synthetic oligonucleotides, a short-segment strand of synthetic DNA made from salmon sperm. Academic and corporate researchers use the product in disease diagnosis and drug development, as well as in the discovery of the genetic profiles of animals, humans and plants. Research breakthroughs in studying the human and corn genomes are rapidly enlarging the synthetic DNA market, which IDT researchers estimate at some $250 million a year.
IDT has more than 20,000 worldwide customers. Among them are Iowa State University, the National Animal Disease Center, the National Veterinary Services Lab, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, the Plant Science Institute, the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
with Incentives As with most expansions of such a decidedly large ilk, IDT's project is receiving state and local incentives. IDT officials said, however, that the privately held firm anticipates that "less than 3 percent of the entire project" will be financed with public assistance. IDT's incentives include a $800,000 forgivable loan from the city of Coralville. The state is also providing $600,000 from the Community Economic Betterment Account; $360,000 of that total is in the form of a forgivable loan.
IDT has agreed to pay back the $240,000 non-forgivable loan in five years. The company won't, however, have to pay back the forgivable loans if it creates the 200 new jobs that it's projecting, state and local officials explained.
IDT's expansion will create the anchor for developing a technology cluster in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area, said Joe Raso, president of Iowa City Area Development (ICAD). Raso also praised the economic development collaboration on the IDT expansion. The Linn County Rural Electric Cooperative and Kirkwood Community College, he noted, joined the Iowa DED, ICAD and Coralville on the project team.
"As the economy is beginning to show signs of recovery, it is critically important and rewarding to see Coralville, the state of Iowa and our other local economic development partners working hand in hand to grow this successful business in our region," Raso said.
©2002 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.