Manufacturing is a key industry in America’s heartland, with Iowa remaining a top destination even in the face of ever-changing challenges and opportunities. The state offers a wide range of benefits for manufacturing businesses, especially those looking to expand or start anew.
From exciting growth trends to supportive incentives, commercial real estate availability and beyond—here are 5 reasons why Iowa should be on your radar.
1. MANUFACTURING IS AN EXPANDING BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY IN IOWA
The data is clear; the Hawkeye State’s manufacturing sector is thriving. Iowa is home to more than 4,000 manufacturers that produce a wide variety of goods, from food and beverage products to high-tech equipment, heavy machinery and everything in between. The economic impact of all this cannot be understated.
According to the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the manufacturing sector adds $31 billion to Iowa’s economy each year, experiencing continuous growth for more than 30 years. This is especially impressive when you take into account that the U.S. has seen an overall decrease in manufacturing jobs throughout this same timeframe.
2. INCENTIVES & PROGRAMS TO SUPPORT COMPANIES OF ALL SIZES
One clear advantage to Iowa’s manufacturing industry is that it’s fairly easy to enter, especially in comparison to some nearby competitor states. This is because local and state governments, working in tandem with industry leaders, have cultivated a business-friendly environment for companies both large and small to excel in.
The following are just a few examples of the many incentives for expanding your manufacturing operation into Iowa.
STATE PROGRAMS AND TAX INCENTIVES
Iowa’s legislative landscape and state programs can greatly benefit manufacturing businesses by helping them reduce operating costs. The state’s tax code exempts manufacturing machinery and equipment from sales and property taxes, and does not charge personal property taxes on inventory.
Furthermore, programs like the Iowa New Jobs Tax Credit and New Jobs Training (260E) Program have contributed to the state’s workforce development—attracting employers and creating more opportunities for local workers.
To view even more state programs and tax incentives in Iowa, visit the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s website.
IOWA MANUFACTURING 4.0
Launched in 2020 to help promote industry competition and innovation, Iowa Manufacturing 4.0 offers targeted resources for manufacturers looking to incorporate new technologies.Top of Form Well-funded and supported by the state, these programs span everything from innovation equipment grants to loan participation programs, workforce training programs, etc. Learn more here.
IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY – CENTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH AND SERVICE
Founded in 1963, Iowa State’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) is dedicated to improving Iowa’s quality of life by assisting businesses and communities, having aided over 4,600 businesses in the last five years—generating an economic impact surpassing $3.1 billion.
Visit their website for more information on their services and how to get started.
3. CENTRAL LOCATION, STREAMLINED LOGISTICS
One of the most important factors in manufacturing is location. It’s a strong determinant of lead times, shipping costs, etc. Centrally located in the heart of the Midwest, Iowa makes it easier for manufacturing businesses to ship and receive goods from all around the country.
Two of the nation’s most important highway transportation routes, I-35 and I-80, intersect just north of Iowa’s capitol and most populous city—Des Moines. Bordered by the Mississippi River and Missouri River, the state also boasts nearly 500 miles of navigable waterways. Plus, Iowa has 3,851 miles of freight track and 9 commercial airports. (You can find maps and more information here.)
And of course, everything is kept moving by a skilled, educated and growing workforce.
4. STRONG MANUFACTURING WORKFORCE
Beyond its strategic location, the Hawkeye State boasts a robust and skilled workforce, a key aspect of the state’s manufacturing success. Iowa, recognized as a national frontrunner in advanced manufacturing, boasts the third-highest concentration of manufacturing workers in the United States. And that’s just one sector.
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, Iowa had an industry-wide average of 225,000 manufacturing employees in 2021. Moreover, roughly 32,000 of those workers reside in the Greater Des Moines Area. It’s worth noting that Altoona, a city just 10 minutes east of Des Moines, has a considerably high concentration of manufacturing workers for its size—nearly 900 in a city with roughly 20,000 residents.
5. AVAILABLE, COST-EFFECTIVE COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE
Though market conditions are always shifting, commercial buildings and commercial land for sale in Iowa are generally pretty cheap when compared to most of the U.S. What’s more, there’s plenty of it to choose from. This is especially true in the City of Altoona.
There are roughly 1,600 acres of development-ready land and an abundance of commercial buildings available for purchase and/or lease in Altoona that are primed for manufacturing use.
Take the 9th Street NE Development Sites, for example. The sites are just south of I-80 exit 143, close to major routes like I-35 and U.S. 65. Just a 20-minute drive from Des Moines, this area is a hotspot for manufacturing and logistics properties like Endeavor Development’s new I-80 Distribution Center which offers 300,000 square feet of bulk warehousing space for lease.
ALTOONA: CHECKING ALL THE BOXES FOR MANUFACTURING EXCELLENCE
Seeking an expanding business opportunity in Iowa? Whether you’re an entrepreneur searching for commercial land for sale in Iowa, or a developer looking to lease or purchase a commercial property for sale in Iowa—the City of Altoona is a great place to get started.
A leader in Iowa economic development, Altoona provides access to a rich tapestry of incentives for expanding manufacturing operations into Iowa and opens doors to a diverse range of business opportunities. It offers businesses a prime location for expansion, complemented by a skilled and educated workforce that propels innovation.
There are roughly 1,600 acres of development-ready land and an abundance of commercial buildings available in our business-friendly community. Additionally, Altoona commercial real estate sales are often supported by exciting incentives, grants, and tax credits.