Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. (WREDC) Chairman’s Message

By Jason Vote:

While we all want to see positive change and progress on all fronts in the community, the pace of such progress could at times be arduous and slow. However, if we look at Nobles County and city of Worthington recent history, we quickly realize that we have seen tremendous positive change in number of main community development areas that we all can be proud of.

I am grateful and WREDC is thankful for number of public investments in transportation, infrastructure, and utilities throughout the community. Such investments enabled millions of dollars of private investments at the Worthington Biotechnology Park. During the past two years, we have witnessed a number of new buildings like PHG, PurNet, and Bioverse go up adding to the tax base and to employment numbers.

Such investments would not have been possible without leadership from city and Nobles County. WREDC is in a better position today to help business expand and locate in Nobles County. That is possible due in large part to Tom Johnson County Administrator and Nobles County Commissioners who took the lead in designating WREDC as the Lead Development Organization (LDO). The LDO designation made it possible for WREDC to assist with PurNet’s recent expansion in Worthington, the retention of Sailor’s Plastics in Adrian, and recent investments in Round Lake Vineyards & Winery.

Good news about business growth within a 12 month period does not mean that our job is done. We still see challenges that we can only overcome if we work together with the best interest of the broader community at heart. WREDC is working very closely with city of Worthington, Nobles County, and PBK Investments to drive progress on mall redevelopment. This project can only move forward based on its long term return on investment to the community. Such return is measured by number of new job opportunities, type and scale of tax base it will create, and over all positive impacts on the Northeast quadrant of the city and along the Oxford Street corridor.

An important challenge that holds a lot of promise for new employment and private investment opportunities is market rate rental housing. WREDC was successful in working with Nobles county communities in kick starting the Nobles Home Initiative, a five years tax abatement program to encourage new housing construction. The program started summer of 2014 and since then about 34 new single-family homes were built in Nobles County. WREDC encourages investments in market rate rentals to meet existing demand and continues to work on developing new tools to address the need. The Rising Sun Estates development has demonstrated that demand for rental housing option in the Worthington area is very healthy. As a result, we are beginning to see positive feedback from others looking to invest in local market rate rental housing.

For 2016 WREDC is working to organize the 2016 Bio Science Conference planned for April 7th & 8th 2016 at the Worthington Event Center. We are also putting together a group of partners to finish the lab facilities at the Bio-tech Advancement Center. This will open up educational and new business opportunities and allow the BAC to achieve its long-standing goal of incubating new businesses and new ideas.

We look forward to seeing our members and WREDC supporters at the annual meeting planned for Thursday February 18th - keep an eye out for invites going out soon. This year’s keynote will be Darlene Vortherms, Owner and President of PurNet a growing local company that just recently built a new facility at the Worthington Bio-Business Park.

We are very optimistic about development and investment prospects in Worthington and Nobles County. WREDC is fortunate to have partners like you and to be working with all of you towards common goals.

If you need details or need more information about WREDC and what it can do to assist you or your business/ideas, please contact Abraham Algadi at invest@worthington-minnesota.com or directly call WREDC 507-372-5515