Mystery company gets the OK for $1 million loan to expand in St. Paul

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The St. Paul Port Authority Tuesday approved a $1 million loan application to help finance an unidentified company's plans to expand its operations in St. Paul and create 330 new jobs.

St. Paul is one of several locations the company is considering for the expansion.

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Port Authority's board of commissioners decided to apply for the loan from the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) on behalf of the company. 

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.”

But after Tuesday's meeting, we know a bit more about the anonymous business, the Pioneer Press notes:

  • The company has operations nationwide, and already has a presence in St. Paul.
  • The loan would finance an expansion of its existing operations.
  • The company has a property in mind if it chooses St. Paul; it's a site that was redeveloped by the Port Authority but is no longer owned by the agency.

We also have 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 the state Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

What happens next?

Now that the Port Authority has agreed to apply for the MIF loan, that application needs to be approved by DEED.

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

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 said it would lease the property in St. Paul and spend about $3 million to build or remodel it, according to the Business Journal.

The $1 million 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.

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