California Company Plans Massive Ramen Complex in Belle Fourche
Belle Fourche, SD - The global supply chain crisis, government financial aid and a desire to support the "Made in America" movement have convinced a California company to propose a massive ramen complex in a small Black Hills city."I think we'll be one of the larger, if not the largest, ramen producing facilities in the country," said Bill Saller, CEO of Albany Farms. "Anything that we possibly can source locally, we will."
The complex would include a flour mill, production factories, and packaging areas that would produce more than 100 million packages of ramen each year, Saller said. It would eventually employ up to 900 workers earning what Saller described as "living wages."
The ramen complex will take advantage of the Belle Fourche Rail Park and the statewide agriculture economy. Wheat will be brought to the factory while ramen cups and packets will be shipped by train, Saller said.
"We're super happy to have Albany Farms here," said Hollie Stalder, executive director of the Belle Fourche Development Corporation. "Of course it's great for job creation, and it's a perfect tie-in with the agricultural background that Belle Fourche has. Our transportation network will serve them well and we're so happy that our industrial park was ideally suited for their needs."
Albany Farms recently bought a building in Belle Fourche for its factory and is working on purchasing 11 of the surrounding acres, according to company spokeswoman Stephanie Magoon.
The development corporation is working to donate 23 acres, Stalder said. The corporation will pay $342,032 to add railroad spurs for Albany Farms and other businesses, pending the receipt of a $1.4 million federal grant, according to public records.
Albany Farms also received a $1.3 million loan from the Governor's Office of Economic Development. The company plans to use the loan to purchase manufacturing equipment and is also applying for federal funding.The company — known for its Panda Signature ramen brand — manufactures its products overseas but decided it needed to switch gears once the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
"With the onset of COVID, importing food became problematic. Transportation has become a major issue for food companies and certainly for us," Saller said. Saller said the price for their shipping containers has increased an average of $18,000 per container. "That takes the ramen product and basically doubles the cost to import it," he said, so the company decided to move all manufacturing to the United States.The 38-acre Belle Fourche site is in the town's industrial and rail park, and includes a 50,000-sq. ft building. Future plans include expanding the building to 150,000-sq. ft., building a second 180,000-sq. ft. factory, 50,000-sq. ft. flour mill, and a small packaging facility.
Excerpts from SDPB Radio | Arielle Zionts
Construction Begins on 1st Home at Sky Ridge
SPEARFISH, SD – Construction for the first home at Sky Ridge, a workforce housing development and adjacent sports complex near Exit 17, began this month during a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating this milestone to create affordable housing for Spearfish. The property for Sky Ridge was purchased in 2019, and construction began in Fall 2020.
“The need for more affordable housing has long been a topic of concern for communities across the nation, and I am proud that Spearfish has worked to make this priority a reality,” Mayor Dana Boke said. “To see construction begin on what will become a home for a local family is exciting, and I am thankful to everyone who has worked hard to bring this project to fruition.”
Sky Ridge includes 150 lots for workforce housing, developed in phases over five years. The current contract requires 40 percent, or 60 homes, to be sold at or below $197,000; 40 percent to be sold at or below $247,000; and the remaining 20 percent (30 homes) sold up to the maximum price point established the South Dakota Housing Development Authority’s First-Time Homebuyer Program, which is currently $300,000. The square-footage of the home designs varies from 800-1,700 square feet, and Dream Design International, Inc., is responsible for constructing the homes.
The first three residential housing building permits have been issued, with another 27 homes expected to be under construction over the next year.
“One of the top concerns we hear from our Spearfish employers is the increasing difficultly to find reasonably priced housing for middle-income workers. The Sky Ridge development is a huge step in the right direction to helping provide home ownership opportunities to our skilled laborers, police officers, teachers, health care workers, retail professionals, and many others wanting to both work and live in Spearfish,” said Kory Menken, Spearfish Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) executive director. “SEDC applauds the City of Spearfish and Dream Design International for bringing this project to reality, and we are proud we were able to be a part of it.”
Construction at Sky Ridge will be visible over the next five years, with the approximately 40-acre sports complex expected to be open for play in Spring 2023. The development’s design includes 180 lots (150 of which are dedicated to workforce housing).
Excerpts from City of Spearfish Press Release
Hill City Economic Development Corporation Update
HILL CITY, SD - Hill City Economic Development Corporation (HCEDC) will have a new housing study in hand by April 2022, funded in part thanks to economic development partner Black Hills Energy. HCEDC’s hope is that the housing study will shed light on the confusing 2020 census data and expose a need for housing of all types in the Hill City area. This housing study will show if there is a need for attainable housing, homes that a dual income Hill City couple could afford. The HCEDC Board sees a need for as many as 120 homes in the area. This study will also look at a 10-mile radius of Hill City, including the former lumber mill site. The biggest type of housing that the HCEDC would like to accomplish is seasonal housing by giving them a comfortable place to stay. The HCEDC board is also conducting a parking/signage study for the City. This will be for tourists to find parking, restrooms, and therefore be able to keep them in Hill City for longer periods of time, increasing overall spending. The board is also working on increasing cell phone coverage and broadband offerings in the region, have a sponsored recycling center drop off, hiking and biking trails that begin or end in city limits, ways to improve the parks, create a dog park, and ideas for increasing water and sewer infrastructure. The Hill City EDC board is working hard and is a vibrant community partner.
Provided by Hill City Economic Development Corporation
BFDC Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony For $2.4M Rail Park Expansion
BELLE FOURCHE, SD – The Belle Fourche Development Corporation (BFDC) held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate work being done to expand the rail siding at the Belle Fourche Industrial and Rail Park.
“It’s wonderful to have this culmination today,” BFDC Executive Director Hollie Stalder said. “Transportation is key to industry supply in the tri-state region, which we’re known for here (in Belle Fourche) … From feed and seed supply to plastics, steel, oil, and gas, the Belle Fourche rail siding provides the means to connect to our customers.”
Federal Railroad Administration and South Dakota Department of Transportation grant funds were awarded to construct a $2.4 million rail project at the rail park. BFDC sought out the grant, an 80/20 match, which required $480,000, or 20%, for the local match.
The organization then secured an additional state grant which would finance 50% of the local match, leaving $240,000 remaining. During budget discussions in 2020, BFDC received approval from both the Belle Fourche City Council and the Butte County Commission to allocated $120,000 each to fulfill the remaining funds needed.Currently, Stalder said the rail siding and spur, which was officially finished and christened in 2016, can accommodate up to 27 rail cars. Through the help of federal and state grants, construction will expand the track in the industrial park in Belle Fourche to accommodate up to 90 cars, culminating the three-year process. The project entails the construction of two additional tracks, with four new turnouts, additional crossings, access roads, and approximately 65 additional rail cars worth of storage space.
Excerpts from BH Pioneer | Lacey Peterson
2021 Annual Report - Elevate Rapid City
It was another eventful year and included one of the biggest recruiting projects in Rapid City’s history (Aesir Technologies and the potential for up to 1500 jobs), movement on the B-21, the launch of the Elevate Leadership Institute, and the rolling out of Elevate’s workforce development grant programs. Through the Elevate magazine, we also told dozens and dozens of stories of small businesses and individuals in the Black Hills making a difference in people’s lives. And we also saw a return of mixers and expanded event opportunities through our Critical Issues Luncheons, where we explored topics like infrastructure, housing, and workforce.In 2022, these programs, along with our other signature programs, will remain. These include the Elevate Prosperity Insight Center (EPIC), Rapid Fund, Downtown Façade Loan fund, business advocacy, crackerbarrels, and our monthly economic indicators. However, we also know we’ve got to respond to the housing and workforce demands of a growing region, and those challenges won’t be easy. We plan on getting right out of the gate, for instance, by hiring a housing coordinator in January. And we think that’s just the beginning, so stay tuned.Until that time, enjoy the holidays with your family and loved ones. And check out our Annual Report and the accompanying video, which we hope will fill you with hope for the future of the region! Thank you for your continued support.
Stay safe and God-speed,
Tom Johnson, President and CEO