Mayor Jeff Longwell announced Thursday that the Dold Foods food plant in north Wichita expects to expand and add nearly 400 new jobs.
Longwell made the announcement at his weekly briefing Thursday at City Hall, marking the second major jobs revelation for the city in a week.
If an incentives package is approved by the City Council, according to city documents, the Dold facility – at 2929 N. Ohio – would undergo a $132 million expansion and add 384 jobs in the next five years.
Average salary for the new positions would be about $62,000 including benefits, according to the city. The expansion would include a 156,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.
“This is a big investment by a company that recognizes Wichita is a great place to grow,” Longwell said. “Now we have nearly 400 jobs coming that are good-paying jobs – food processing, manufacturing and administration jobs – because they know we have a terrific skilled labor workforce.
“It’s an easy place for them to have success.”
This is a big investment by a company that recognizes Wichita is a great place to grow.
Jeff Longwell, Wichita mayor
According to city documents, Hormel would receive a 100 percent tax exemption for the expansion for the next five years. For the first year, the estimated tax value of the exemption would be more than $1.1 million.
A second five-year exemption period, which would be subject to council review, could follow, according to the language.
While making the announcement, Longwell said the Greater Wichita Partnership economic development organization deserved much of the credit for the agreement.
“We’re seeing increased opportunities in Wichita,” said Jeff Fluhr, president of the partnership. “There’s tremendous interest in our city, and we’re seeing opportunities come to fruition.”
Longwell said the Dold plant, which produces sliced bacon, currently has about 275 employees. Messages to the Hormel Foods media relations office were not immediately returned Thursday.
The plant’s finished pork product was not lost on Longwell.
“Finally, the mayor’s bringing home the bacon,” Longwell joked.
Joking aside, Longwell said the announcement is part of the city’s goal to continue to diversify its economy. He also foreshadowed possible additional jobs announcements in the coming weeks.
Thursday’s announcement comes one week after Virginia-based company Faneuil promised to bring as many as 500 new jobs to downtown Wichita. At a recent job fair in Wichita, Longwell said Faneuil offered more than 100 jobs to fair-goers.
“That’s our whole goal – that we’re not relying just on aviation,” Longwell said. “Now, we hope that there will be some additional announcements coming up in the near future about some new growth in aviation, but we’re doing a better job with this new Greater Wichita Partnership at diversifying our job base.”