Town 'Held Hostage' by Vacant Plant

Tyson shuttered its plant in 2014, and has been holding onto the lease ever since.

A small town in Iowa may be seeing some relief from the chaos that resulted from its largest employer closing up shop.

According to the Des Moines Register, leaders in the town of Cherokee, Iowa spent a long time feeling like they were being “held hostage” by Tyson Foods who, in 2014, elected to shutter their 250,000-square foot factory.

At the time, 450 jobs were lost, but the challenges didn’t end there. Tyson has since held onto their lease on the property as an attempt, says the Register, to keep competitors from snapping it up in area where there is scarce supply of existing factory space in good condition. This left the vacant factory as an eyesore at best, and a missed opportunity at worst.

With criticism mounting, Tyson – last year – said it would vacate the lease for a payment of $400,000, but the building’s owners declined. Now they’ve listed the property for sale and hope that Tyson will budge once an offer is on the table.

For its part, Tyson said that it wouldn’t comment on hypotheticals but is “always willing to consider serious proposals for future uses of the facility."

Real estate broker Global Food Properties says it hopes Tyson will “do the right thing,” but there are really no guarantees here. The food processor has the property leased to 2020, with an option to extend up to 15 years.

Officials believe that the site, if turned over, will help build out an industrial park in the area.

I'm Anna Wells, and this is IEN Now.