Gerald Smith

Gerald Smith

An undisclosed business could bring up to 200 new jobs, above-average wages and a new 75,000-square-foot building to Maquoketa.

The Maquoketa City Council Monday agreed to sign a non-binding letter of intent with an unnamed company that is considering opening a business in Maquoketa. Signing the letter shows the city’s interest in the company, according to City Manager Gerald Smith.

“The request for the non-binding letter of intent is from a business prospect that has requested confidentiality but wanted assurances the city was interested in negotiating a development agreement should a site be located in the community, hence the non-binding letter of intent,” Smith explained.

He said no other action has taken place other than this expression of the city’s interest.

The business, which requested to remain unnamed at this time, is some type of

manufacturer, according to the letter of intent. When asked which company or business is moving to Maquoketa, Smith said it was “not very clear as of yet.”

The letter of intent names USSAF Inc. as the project developer.

The undisclosed business approached the city within the last 10 days, Smith said.

Under terms of the letter, USSAF would construct a 75,000- to 95,000-square-foot building on 10 acres. Smith said the location of that possible new building is also confidential at this time, but according to the letter, the city would provide the 10 acres free of charge.

The Jackson County Economic Alliance has also been working with USSAF and noted that the business prospect is “considering a major presence in Maquoketa’s [Highway] 61 space,” according to Nic Hockenberry, JCEA executive director. 

The city’s two largest industrial areas are located on East Summit Street and 200th Avenue heading south from Maquoketa.

The manufacturer would employ five to 200 people depending on the type of manufacturing and required technology. Wages “will meet or exceed the county’s hourly wage with competitive benefits,” according to the letter.

The average Jackson County wage earner made about $661 dollars per week according to Iowa Workforce Development’s quarterly census of employment and wages. 

If the manufacturer locates in Maquoketa, the city agreed to connect any necessary sewer and water to the lot lines with a shared cost. 

The city also agreed to pave any city streets, if necessary, to develop the lot and make sure needed gas and electricity are available there.

The city was given no indication if other towns are in the running for this new business nor when the business would decide whether it will settle in Maquoketa, Smith said.

The possible new business would show added industrial growth in Maquoketa as well as Jackson County. 

Manufacturer HUSCO International increased the size of its workforce in the past year to meet the demand of additional product lines at its Maquoketa location. HUSCO is based in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Mallard Manufacturing Inc., a warehouse equipment manufacturer based in Sterling, Illinois, began leasing the former Spartan building at 1201 E. Summit St., Maquoketa, last month. The business added 10 temporary jobs to the workforce, with the possibility of 60 to 70 more employees in the next year, company officials said.

In Preston, Plastics Unlimited is undergoing its second expansion in two years. The plastics thermoforming facility is winning more and more ag-related projects, owners said, and requires more space. The 30,000-square-foot expansion may mean up to 15 more jobs after the first of the year.

Collins Aerospace looks to add another 30 employees to its aerospace-component manufacturing operation in Bellevue. The business opened with 80 employees in 1988. The workforce expanded to 190 employees 18 months ago and 255 employees now.