MUNSTER | Land O'Frost broke ground Wednesday on a new $6.4 million corporate headquarters, a project that will shift 50 jobs to the town after the company outgrew its office in Lansing.
Gov. Mike Pence said Land O'Frost's relocation is an endorsement of Indiana's economic foundation as he joined company and town officials at the site, 630 Hagburg Drive. The third-generation family owned business produces the second best-selling brand of lunch meat in the country.
“This is an exciting day because this is a headquarters announcement,” Pence said. “We truly believe that part of the strategy for growing Indiana is not just growing jobs in the Hoosier state but locating companies and locating headquarters in the Hoosier state.”
Since 2010, more than 24 Illinois companies have announced plans to move all or part of their operations to Indiana, which has brought more than 3,000 jobs to the state, according to Pence.
The 27,000-square-foot building will feature a pilot plant and a high-tech test kitchen, allowing the company to develop new products and recipes faster and more efficiently, Land O'Frost President and CEO David Van Eekeren said. The building also will feature a sustainable design in hopes of becoming LEED certified.
The new headquarters is expected to open in fall 2014.
Munster offered approximately $2 million in tax increment financing incentives toward the project. The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority contributed $750,000, and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. gave $750,000 in tax credits, according to George Smolar, the company's chief financial officer.
Van Eekeren said the growth of the company necessitated the change of facilities and that sites were explored in Indiana and Illinois before the decision was made to move to Munster.
The company will maintain a production plant in Lansing and has plants in Arkansas, Kentucky and Nebraska, where it employs an estimated 1,100 manufacturing workers.
“When we started looking at the scope of the project,” Van Eekeren said, “we decided we should at least do our fiduciary responsibilities to see if there was any conversations to be had at different locations...This happened to be by far the best site we were able to find.”