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Mystery business seeks $1M loan, promises 330 jobs in St. Paul

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An unnamed business is promising to set up shop in St. Paul and hire 330 new workers in exchange for $1 million in financial incentives from the St. Paul Port Authority.

The Port Authority's commissioners are scheduled to vote on the loan request Tuesday, even though they don't even know the identity of the mystery business or where exactly it would be located, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Specifically, the Port Authority will decide whether to apply for the loan from the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) on behalf of the company, according to the board's agenda.

MIF loans can only be given to local units of government, which then pass the money through to the business in question.

Officials don't want to reveal the name of the firm until after the application is submitted, Port Authority CFO Laurie Hanson wrote in a memo to the commissioners.

"St. Paul is competing with several other locations in several other states to convince the company to locate the jobs in St. Paul," Hanson wrote. "Until a final location decision is made, the company would like to remain anonymous."

Given the competition St. Paul faces from other locations that want to land this business, Hanson said the MIF loan is essential.

"Without the inducement of MIF, these jobs may not be created in Saint Paul or anywhere in Minnesota," Hanson wrote.

What would happen next?

If the Port Authority agrees to apply for the MIF loan, it would then need to be approved by the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Hanson said the company plans to decide by Oct. 31 where it will locate, and will reveal its identity before the state approves the loan.

The company is also asking DEED for an additional $400,000 in job training grants, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports.

Although we don't yet know the identity of the company, we can get some clue as to what type of business it is because of its request for an MIF loan; those loans are focused on industrial, manufacturing, and technology-related industries, according to DEED.

The MIF loan is forgivable, meaning the company won't have to pay it back if it reaches certain benchmarks for the number of jobs it creates and the wages it pays those workers, the Pioneer Press explains. The jobs would need to be in existence for at least two years.

The company plans to lease property in St. Paul – also not disclosed at this point – and spend about $3 million to build or remodel it, according to the Business Journal.

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