Global Food Properties, in partnership with Sioux City, Iowa-based NAI United, is pleased to announce the sale of a 254,232 SF refrigerated production plant in Cherokee, Iowa. The Seller was a New York-based trust, which had owned and leased the property for decades to predecessor further meat processors Wilson Foods and Iowa Beef Packers; both Wilson Foods and Iowa Beef Packers are rolled up in the current tenant, Tyson Foods.  

What began as a beef and pork slaughter and fabrication plant in 1965 will return to a similar use under the Buyer, Cherokee Packing Company, after nearly a generation producing deli meats, hams, and further processed pork. The plant historically was the first or second largest employer in Cherokee, a town of 6,000 in Northwestern Iowa, before closing in 2014.

The Return of Jobs & Investment

The redeployment of a 54 year-old production plant for a similar use is a noteworthy achievement. The further meat processing sector is one dominated by consolidation, volatile swings commodity and ingredient costs, and evolving consumer preferences. While Tyson invested substantially in a 2010 plant upgrade, the facility’s overall configuration, flow, and ceiling heights were less conducive to highly automated linear production, where throughput serves as the necessary antidote to thin margins.  

The new ownership expects to offset any functional obsolescence through a combination of discounted entry cost (versus new construction), benefits from the most advanced technologies and equipment, and Northwest Iowa’s appealing business climate, taxes, and lower cost labor.

In sum, though not without challenges, the Cherokee plant sale is a testament to teamwork, where the Seller, the Community, the State, and the tenant, Tyson Foods, all worked together for the benefit of Northwest Iowa and the broader region.