Expansion plans in works for Iron Ox
From staff reports
Robotic farming company Iron Ox’s facility on Reed Drive remains under construction, but it’s already looking to expand beyond its 535,000 square foot, 25-acre footprint.
Citing a desire to expand its operations, production, and, eventually, its product offerings, Iron Ox officials last week said they planned to build a 1 million square foot expansion on an additional 85 acres located at 3249 FM 1322 (South Commerce Street) in Lockhart.
Iron Ox CEO Brandon Alexander spoke of the company’s expansion plans at a Lockhart City Council meeting last week, where council members unanimously approved awarding a $200,000 grant through the Lockhart Economic Development Corporation that would reimburse the company for water and wastewater utilities construction for the new site as part of an incentive-laced performance agreement.
Lockhart’s where Iron Ox wants to be as it continues to grow its presence in Texas, Alexander told council.
Alexander offered few details about the expansion but said Iron Ox hoped to expand both production and the products it offers. Given demand seeing from local customers, Lockhart and surrounding areas.
“Y’all have delivered in spades. We really appreciate that. It’s looking really good,” Alexander said. “We are hiring amazing local people from Lockhart.
“We see this as our heart, our hub going forward. We’re focusing on sustainable food, too, not just delicious, not just nutritious — how we can grow with less input and less waste, more sustainably than any other produce out there. That’s a big initiative for our company going forward. We see our facilities in Lockhart as the breeding ground for this.”
Iron Ox Vice President of Operations Greg Zanghi also addressed council.
“The produce that we’re going to have coming out of that building is just the beginning,” he said. “What happens next (will involve) creating produce, reducing our carbon footprint and creating a sustainable product. It’s going to allow us to open up more roles here and continue to grow.”
The performance agreement involves a rebate of up to $200,000 of LEDC funds for the installation of water and wastewater lines to the property. City Council also voted to approve the five-year city property tax rebate incentive to Iron Ox once its new expansion facility on S. Commerce St. is completely developed and a certificate of occupancy has been obtained.
EDC Director Mike Kamerlander said he believed the wastewater and water utilities extensions to the new site were a good investment because future business could also choose the area surrounding Iron Ox’s expansion as a location.
Mayor Lew White said he was pleased to hear Iron Ox was finding Lockhart agreeable.
“We are very excited about the project in development, and even more excited about expansion opportunities,” White said.
In other action, council:
Approved the sale of 13.615 acres in the SH-130 Industrial Park to Titan Development. The Albuquerque-based company provides real-estate development services, which include multifamily, office, and industrial. A representative with Titan Development told Council that the company plans to further invest in industrial companies, targeting light manufacturing and distribution/logistics, at its new site in Lockhart. Titan plans to market the site during its 12-month due diligence period and will be hiring a broker. The LEDC will deliver the site to Titan with wet and dry utilities that are already in the works. The purchase price in the agreement is listed at approximately $1.6 million, which will be adjusted at $2.75 per square foot upon confirmation of the property’s square footage. The city will receive a total of $50,000 in earnest money within nine months.
Gave the Lockhart Police Department the green light to submit a grant application for new body worn cameras through the Office of the Governor.
approved Old Pal Texas Tavern’s BIG Grant, amounting to $11,385, as part of its performance agreement with the Lockhart Economic Development Corporation
agreed to tentatively schedule up to four redistricting meetings for February 8, 22, March 8 and 29, 2022. A representative with Bickerstaff, Heath, Delgado & Acosta–the legal firm appointed by City Council–will assist with the redistricting process. Redistricting is required at the beginning of each decade to determine if, based on new population figures provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the City of Lockhart’s single-member voting districts continue to conform to the U.S. Constitution’s one-person, one-vote requirement.