Vita Plus in Columbus plans to relocate to new 38-acre site
COLUMBUS—Landlocked Vita Plus in Columbus should have plenty room to expand in the near future.
The employee-owned animal feed manufacturer is making plans to move its local facility to a new 38-acre site located on Highway 16 between Fromm Family Foods and Rhodes Bakery, on land located in the the town of Columbus, adjacent to the city’s Tax Incremental District 4.
The Columbus City Council approved a “memorandum of understanding” with Vita Plus at a meeting Tuesday night that lays out plans for the city to annex the property and then amend the TIF to include the new parcel inside the boundary and allow the business to reap a financial benefit that come with being part of the district.
“We’re excited that they’re looking to make an investment in a new facility in Columbus,” said Economic Development Director Dave Carlson. “In addition to a retention of jobs, this also reflects an investment in the community and increased commitment to the community going forward.”
Vita Plus President Robert Tramburg said the company needs to expand its production capacity, but doesn’t have room to grow at the current site, where it is hemmed in by three streets and the railroad tracks.
“The new facility will be much more efficient and much larger and able to handle our customers’ needs into the future,” he said.
Vita Plus is buying the 38-acre site from Magael, a holding company for Madison Gas and Electric, with the city helping to broker the deal.
MG&E had originally bought the land for possible development as a solar generation site, but those plans never materialized. Carlson said when Vita Plus started looking for a new location, he contacted MG&E, which agreed to make the land available to sell to the city of Columbus or to an entity it would designate, at a cost of $450,000.
“Obviously, the fact that it’s adjacent to the TIF district where it can be annexed into the city and added to the TIF district is very attractive to us and to Vita Plus,” Carlson said.
Vita Plus has operated in Columbus since the early 1970s, manufacturing custom animal feeds in meal and pellet form for dairy, swine and poultry. The facility had 19 full-time and two two part-part employees, as of 2015, and blended 174 tons of custom feed every day, Monday through Friday and some Saturdays. They have four trucks on the road daily delivering bulk feed and one truck delivering bagged feed to farms in a 70-mile radius surrounding Columbus.
The company is headquartered in Madison and has facilities throughout the Midwest.
Vita Plus intends to begin construction of the Columbus project in 2017, with a target completion date by Sept. 30, 2018.