Vacant Iowa Tyson plant listed for sale for about $2.5M

CHEROKEE (AP) — After nearly three years of sitting vacant, a Tyson Foods plant in the northwestern Iowa community of Cherokee could be showing signs of life..
The owner of the property recently listed the site with Chicago-based Global Food Properties, the Des Moines Register reported. Local leaders hope that means a new occupant for the 250,000 square-foot plant will be found.
Tyson, once Cherokee’s largest employer, closed in September 2014, taking 450 jobs with it. Since then, Tyson has held on to the lease.
Last July, the company offered to buy out its lease, which doesn’t expire until 2020 and comes with an option to extend the agreement another 15 years. But the property owner didn’t take the offer, worried about ongoing costs of security, maintenance, utilities and property taxes.
Tyson has not said how it will handle offers to take over occupancy of the plant, offering only a statement that it has “a plan in place for tours for interested buyers or lessees.”
But Jeffrey Counsell, co-founder of Global Food Properties, expects Tyson will agree to leave the site if a new buyer or tenant makes an offer.
“Is there a possibility they could be obstructionist?” Counsell pondered. “Yes. I think that’s everybody’s worst concern, but there’s no reason to think they will.”
The plant and its 45-acre site are listed for about $2.5 million.
Mark Langfan is a New York real estate investor whose father owns the Cherokee plant. Langfan said a new landlord could buy the plant and keep Tyson as the tenant until at least 2020, or the property could be leased to a third party if Tyson agrees to vacate its current lease. Or, he said, the property could be sold outright to another manufacturer if Tyson agrees to vacate.
Langfan said his family is willing to accept a below-market offer “so that we can get people in Cherokee working.”