The tower looming over S. Raney Street in Effingham is a sign that Archer Daniels Midland Company is on track for a solid future here. Work is underway to convert a large food-grade warehouse for ADM's new pet food and livestock premix plant.
ADM purchased the former 284,000-square-foot Southeastern Container site at 1200 McGrath for $8.5 million from Effingham Development Building Partners II. ADM plans to consolidate three facilities in Effingham once the site is fully operational in 2018.
Todd Hull, Effingham's economic development director, said ADM provides good jobs for people across the region.
“Food-related businesses are a great fit for Effingham and ADM is a leader in the food industry,” said Hull. “Having ADM's presence in the community is huge and might actually help in attracting other food-related companies to the area.”
Jill Lawrence, ADM's national account manager, recently spoke at the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce's First Friday Luncheon, touting Effingham's location and quality workforce. That's why the company purchased the building and began a $35 million expansion, she said.
Jackie Anderson, an ADM spokesperson, said the improvements in Effingham will make ADM more efficient. Construction began in summer 2016.
“It will also help us more efficiently meet and exceed the ever-increasing industry standards for pet foods and the requirements stemming from the Food Safety Modernization Act,” said Anderson. “It's some time before the new facility will be operational. As we get closer, we'll be discussing any employee impacts with the team in Effingham.”
Generally speaking, she said ADM doesn't expect significant changes for the majority of the employees.
"It’s some time before the new facility will be operational," said Anderson. "We will determine the exact number of employees (the facility will have) closer to the opening of the facility."
The impressive construction of the processing tower required a height variance and approval by the Federal Aviation Administration because it reached levels beyond what is typical in Effingham.
The mill tower was built using "slip-form" construction that was a continuous concrete pour. The pour lasted seven days, the spokesperson said. The concrete was supplied by a batch plant near the facility.
"The tall tower and bucket elevator is required as part of our process design criteria, which eliminates or limits the use of conveyors and additional product elevations," said Anderson.
The construction of the tower — which stands 142 feet, 3 inches — includes a bucket elevator for a full height of almost 160 feet. The typical height ordinance is 75 feet. The Zoning Board of Appeals approved the variance. The FAA eventually approved the height with its own variance, said City Engineer Jeremy Heuerman.
“We worked with local permitting agencies to conduct a hazard assessment and secure approval from the FAA for the tower's height variance,” said Anderson.
She added that the construction is on schedule to meet its 2018 completion target.
“We have completed construction on the tower and are now working on additional construction within the tower building floors, stairs and preparing for equipment installation," said Anderson.
The city's Enterprise Zone was utilized in the renovations to the facility.
“Through the zone, there are several benefits available,” said Hull. “Any new additions which create an increase to the base equalized assessed valuation would be eligible for real estate tax abatement.”
It also created significant savings as the project was eligible for the sales tax exemption on building materials for the expansion with the Enterprise Zone.
“This state-of-the-art facility, with industry-leading technology, will give us tremendous capabilities to meet a wide variety of customer needs, not just today, but in the years and decades to come, as industry standards for quality and process controls continue to evolve,” said Brent Fenton, president of ADM Animal Nutrition.
Contact Dawn Schabbing at email@example.com or 217-347-7151, ext. 138