Iowa Pacific Processors Inc., a meat processing business at 2606 Sunset Road, is planning to expand its facility by adding a 66,045-square-foot, multilevel cold storage warehouse. Rendering by Interlock LLC.

Iowa Pacific Processors Inc., a specialty meat processing business, is planning an estimated $20 million expansion to its facilities located southwest of downtown Des Moines, city documents show.

The expansion is the first phase of the company’s long-term growth plans that include the construction of a new production facility, offices and space for laboratories.

“We’re happy to hear that plans for this project keep moving forward in light of global economic uncertainty,” Ryan Moffatt, Des Moines’ economic development coordinator, told the Business Record. “This level of investment shows the potential of the Valley Gardens industrial area … where the city has additional land available for industrial development purposes.”

Iowa Pacific Processors has been at 2606 Sunset Road since 1995, according to city documents. The company does not slaughter animals at the facility. Instead, it cuts, processes and packages bulk meat products and distributes the meat to restaurants and commercial food businesses.

The company is located in an area called Valley Gardens, which was heavily affected by the 1993 floods that left Des Moines without drinking water for 12 days. After the floods, the city bought and demolished flooded residential houses in the area under a federal buyout program. Des Moines owns 13 parcels along Sunset Road, most of which it bought in 1994 and 1995, the Polk County assessor website shows. Iowa Pacific Processors will buy city-owned land to accommodate its expansion plans, according to the city document.  

Federal guidelines originally prohibited the construction and redevelopment of the properties. 
After the 1993 flood, a levee and pump station were constructed in the area. Since the improvements, Valley Gardens has not been flooded from the nearby Raccoon River, according to city documents. In 2018, the federal guidelines restricting redevelopment of vacant lots were lifted.

Des Moines policy requires the Urban Design Review Board to review the design of projects proposed on city-owned parcels sold for redevelopment.

The board is scheduled to discuss the design of the expansion at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday in a meeting that will be held virtually.

The new facility would add a 75-foot-tall, 66,045-square-foot cold storage warehouse adjacent to Iowa Pacific Processors’ existing building. The addition would be constructed on 1.2 acres of vacant city-owned ground adjacent to the existing facility, according to information provided to the board. Employee parking would be added on the north side of Sunset Road on land also now owned by the city.

The company’s existing building would be razed at a yet-to-be determined time when construction of new office and laboratory space begins. The 15,244-square-foot, one-story building was constructed in 1968. In 2019, the nearly 1-acre parcel was valued at $251,000, according to the assessor website.