SPARKS — Despite initial pushback from the city’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) regulations, NOW Foods, an international manufacturer of health food and nutritional supplements based in Bloomingdale, Ill., broke ground on its West Coast distribution center and manufacturing facility at 575 Vista Blvd. on Tuesday.
The 130,000-square-foot building will be constructed using green-certified standards and is expected to be complete in the spring of 2012. The design-build project has been awarded to United Construction, which is expected to produce about 40 construction jobs over the duration of the project.
With the state’s jobless rate climbing back toward 13 percent, elected officials and business leaders buzzed about the new construction and job creation taking place in Sparks during a groundbreaking ceremony.
“I hope we get drowned out by the sound of construction,” said Chuck Alvey, president of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN).
NOW Foods first came to the region in 2003, unconvinced about the long-term prospects for success.
“We set up in Nevada with no small amount of trepidation,” said Jim Emme, chief operating officer of NOW Foods.
But it didn’t take long, Emme added, to begin seeing a substantial return on investment.
The new manufacturing facility will allow NOW Foods to expand its operations, a necessity even in today’s challenging economic climate. About 38 percent of the company’s domestic business comes through Sparks, Emme said.
“This is a commitment to the community,” Alvey said.
About 10 new jobs will be created at the new manufacturing plant, company officials said.
Gov. Brian Sandoval was on hand to tout NOW Foods as an example of what companies can achieve in a state widely recognized as business friendly.
“Something I talked about in my inaugural (address) is that I’m tired of hearing that we’re at the bottom of all the good lists and the top of the bad lists,” Sandoval said.
However, things are beginning to change for the better, Sandoval said, citing a recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that ranked Nevada No. 1 in export growth and No. 2 for the lowest state and local tax burden.
“This is one of those proud moments as governor,” Sandoval said of the new manufacturing facility.
According to EDAWN, the design-build phase of the project will have an estimated one-year economic impact to the northern Nevada region of $1,126,058 and a five-year impact of $5,630,290. Moreover, an estimated $1,292,766 in state and county taxes will be generated in the next five years of operation.
“NOW Foods has been a tremendous employer in our region for nearly eight years and we’re pleased they chose to expand their West Coast distribution and manufacturing facility in Sparks,” Mayor Geno Martini said in a statement. “The company’s investment in our economy and our workforce is a true testament to NOW Foods’ commitment to our community. We thank them and the team at EDAWN for partnering with us on this growth opportunity for our entire region.”