Carrie Rengers

Cargill near announcement about city selection

Cargill is looking to move its Wichita headquarters and could make an announcement about what city it selected within a week.
Cargill is looking to move its Wichita headquarters and could make an announcement about what city it selected within a week. The Wichita Eagle

It looks like Cargill is close to an announcement – it could come within the next week – about whether it’s going to remain in Wichita or move its operations here out of state.

Sources say a second announcement likely will follow in a month or two with the exact site where the company will relocate.

“Hmm, well that’s news to me,” said Cargill director of communications Mike Martin when contacted Wednesday afternoon. “At this point, there’s nothing new to report.”

In late March, Have You Heard? reported that the Minneapolis-based company is looking to move its Wichita headquarters from its 110,000-square-foot, 10-story building at 151 N. Main St.

At the time, Martin wouldn’t say whether the company wanted to move within downtown or outside of it, or even outside of Kansas.

“We’re looking at a variety of options, and that’s really all I can say,” Martin said then.

Since then, sources have reported a number of possible sites in Wichita along with locations outside the state that Cargill has considered. Developers have made about half a dozen proposals to Cargill for various Wichita sites.

A couple of top contenders appear to be Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus and the WaterWalk development downtown, sources said.

Those sources said places outside of Kansas where Cargill has looked include Plano, Texas; Denver; Kansas City; and Arkansas. Cargill also briefly considered a consolidation to Minnesota.

In March, Martin said Cargill’s Wichita headquarters is “the classic office building configuration,” which he said isn’t as attractive to younger people.

Cargill has 900 employees downtown, including some in leased space at the Ruffin Building at Douglas and Broadway.

For a time, there were also employees at the Garvey Center.

Martin previously said there are “continuity and work-flow issues with having people in multiple buildings.”

Cargill’s Minneapolis complex is undergoing a complete renovation to create more open spaces with fewer traditional offices and cubicles. Martin says the headquarters here needs something more like that, too.

The company has had a presence at 151 N. Main St. since the mid-1980s, when it first leased space before buying the building in the early 1990s.

Its building is home to four headquarters for the company, including its beef business; its turkey and cooked meat business, which includes deli meats; its value-added protein services, including its North American egg business; and its food distribution.

The Cargill Innovation Center is nearby at 300 W. First St., but in March Martin said it was premature to comment about whether that may move, too.

Cargill also has a 50-employee plant at 13th and Mosley that crushes soybeans to make oil. A few months ago, the company announced it was making a $50 million expansion there.

Martin said Wednesday he’ll let us know as soon as there’s news.

“We’ve taken our time, and we want to be thorough and careful and thoughtful in this decision.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers