A Chicago company has delayed a final decision on whether to construct a $1.1 billion fertilizer plant in northern Iowa or central Illinois.
David Lundy, a spokesman for Cronus Chemical LLC, said engineers are still evaluating costs and other issues as the company decides where to construct a urea production facility expected to create as many as 200 full-time jobs.
“Different sites have different characteristics and every one of those characteristics leads to questions and engineering challenges as well as price tags attached to those challenges,” Lundy said. “It’s taking us a little longer to work through those details than we had hoped.
“We’re probably a few weeks out from making a final site decision.”
Illinois is reportedly offering an incentive package in the range of $30 million for the Cronus project. Iowa has not disclosed what it is offering, but it’s believed to be in the same ballpark.
While the focus has been on the permanent jobs, the Cronus Chemical plant is projected to create as many as 2,000 construction jobs.
“Nobody has been ruled in and nobody has been ruled out at this point,” Lundy said. “Figuring out your capital costs has a lot to do with understanding what you’re being able to offer the product for and what your margins are going to be.
“All these details matter, so we’re just trying to make sure everything is done right.”
Tina Hoffman, spokeswoman for the Iowa Economic Development Authority, said the state has not heard anything new regarding the Cronus project. Hoffman said the agency has a policy of not commenting on projects under negotiation.
While the company is a start-up backed by Swiss and Turkish investors, Lundy said Erzin Atac, president and CEO of Cronus Chemical, has been involved with the fertilizer business since the 1980s.