One of the city's anchor tenants at the Research and Technology Park is considering a manufacturing expansion here.
Phoenix International Corp. – which is owned by John Deere – is considering expansion to a site at 4301 19th Ave. N. Phoenix International designs and builds electronic control, display and sensor systems for equipment manufacturers, including farm-implement makers. The company also operates a manufacturing plant in West Fargo.
On Monday, the Fargo City Commission approved Phoenix International's request to rezone a 30-acre parcel from agriculture to light industrial. In August, the company submitted an application for the PILOT program, which allows property tax exemptions for the addition. The application was approved by the Tax Exempt Review Committee and will be put forward to the City Commission for final approval on Oct. 3.
However, representatives of John Deere could not confirm the expansion will move forward here.
"Right now we are exploring the possibility of expanding our manufacturing," said Ken Golden, a spokesman for John Deere. "We're looking at it, we have a plan, and we are hopeful we can make that happen."
Golden said the company is moving through the process to expand in Fargo until a final decision is made. He would not comment on whether other cities are being considered.
According to Phoenix International's PILOT application, the company would build a two-story, 91,000-square-foot building at the 19th Avenue location. The second story would consist of 42,000 square feet of office space. The building would include an engineering test lab, product engineers and manufacturing.
Phoenix International would continue to operate the other two sites, according to the application.
If the expansion is secured in Fargo, the city will welcome it.
"(Phoenix International) is a great employer, and to see them growing, especially in this economy, it's a wonderful thing," City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn said Monday night.
Mayor Dennis Walaker said Monday it's good to see the 19th Avenue area growing.
Jim Gilmour, Fargo planning director, said expansion is what the city was hoping for in that area.
"I think it's a good sign to see these types of businesses, related to construction expanding in the community," Gilmour said. "One of the hopes you have is that (businesses) expand beyond the tech park."
Other businesses have recently chosen to expand or build in the 19th Avenue area as well.
In July, Manning Mechanical secured a $1.5 million building permit to begin construction on a new site.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530.