LANSING | Village officials are concerned about the perception that a producer of pre-packaged lunch meats is moving from the south suburb to neighboring Munster.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. this week issued a statement in the name of Gov. Mitch Daniels boasting that Land O’Frost is moving its headquarters to an Indiana municipality, a move that will shift about 40 jobs to the Hoosier state.
But J. Wynsma, village administrator for Lansing, said Tuesday it is only the corporate offices of the company that will move. The production plant will remain in Lansing, and Wynsma said the company has plans to expand its facility during 2013.
Jack Yeo, a consultant for Land O’Frost, said plans for any expansion in Lansing during the upcoming year are not definite.
But he said the company realizes it has a long-standing presence in Lansing and is determined to keep its manufacturing plant in the south suburb.
"We remain committed to the Lansing community," Yeo said.
Wynsma said the company, at 16850 Chicago Ave., wants to have a larger facility, and had tried to buy some adjacent land so a new building to house corporate offices could be built nearby.
Yeo said that company officials studied an addition for corporate offices, but ultimately chose Munster because "it gives us the right foundation for our future."
Wynsma said Land O’Frost and the property’s owner were unable to reach an agreement. That led to the move to a Munster-based structure on a 3-acre site that is expected to be ready by 2014.
Munster municipal officials used tax increment finance district money to put together a $2 million package to get the corporate offices, and the economic development corporation offered the company up to $750,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans.
Lansing Village President Norm Abbott said moving the corporate people from the Lansing facility will allow room for expansion of the plant, and some employees and jobs from a Nebraska company recently acquired by Land O’Frost will be transferred to the Lansing facility.
He said that could result in some 300 jobs for Land O’Frost remaining in Illinois.
Abbott also said the company remains a significant presence in Lansing, saying Land O’Frost uses about 1 million gallons of water per month at the facility.
“They’re the largest water user in Lansing,” Abbott said.
Land O’Frost was founded in 1958, and is owned by the third generation of founder Antoon VanEekeren. The company says it is the third-largest producer of pre-sliced lunch meat, as well as producing a line of specialty sausage products.
Overall, the company has about 1,100 manufacturing employees at production plants in Illinois, Kentucky, Arkansas and Nebraska.