CHEYENNE – Laramie County plans to submit a grant and loan application to state officials in hopes of funding construction of a manufacturing facility that could bring more than 80 new jobs to the area.

During a Tuesday special meeting, county commissioners gave their OK to resolutions authorizing submission of an application for a $3 million grant and $3 million loan to the Wyoming Business Council. If awarded, the money would fund construction of a 57,000-square-foot manufacturing and warehouse facility that would be owned by Cheyenne LEADS and leased by California-based Innovive.

LEADS is the economic development corporation for Cheyenne and Laramie County.

Founded in 2004, Innovive manufactures plastic disposable caging products for laboratory rodents used in biomedical research. The company maintains offices in San Diego, Massachusetts and Paris.

The company has already set up shop temporarily in the former Great Lakes Airlines headquarters at Cheyenne Regional Airport.

Susan Coll, vice president of corporate development and co-owner of the company, said the move to Cheyenne is part of the company’s plan to centralize the production process.

“The advantage to doing that is being able to eliminate a lot of the intra-company logistics between third-party vendors that we currently have,” Coll said. “We had a hodgepodge of third-party vendors. It’s now become clear that we could improve our quality primarily and improve the innovation of the product though the manufacturing process.”

Centralizing production, she said, would eliminate the transportation and logistics issues that “happen when you have things done at several locations.”

“Bring it all into one location,” she said, “and then become, quite frankly, a best-in-class producer of products that service the biomedical research community.”

The Cheyenne Business Parkway, east of central Cheyenne, where Sierra Trading Post and the Lowe’s regional distribution center are located, would become home to the new facility, assuming funding is secured.

“If this goes through and we’re able to build a permanent facility here, it will mean a significant expansion of jobs in an area that we’re interested in and technology that we’re interested in expanding here,” Randy Bruns, CEO of Cheyenne LEADS, told commissioners during Tuesday’s meeting.

The Wyoming Business Council is expected to consider the funding application May 16 in Riverton. If approved, the application would then move to the State Loan and Investment Board for consideration June 20 in Cheyenne.

The funding would come through the Wyoming Business Council’s Business Ready Community Grant and Loan Program, which provides financing for publicly owned infrastructure that serves the needs of businesses and promotes economic development within communities.

Cities, towns, counties, joint powers boards and the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes are eligible to apply for funding.

Public infrastructure eligible for funding under the program includes water; sewer; roads; airports; rights of way; telecommunications; land; spec buildings; amenities within a business park, industrial park, industrial site or business district; landscaping, recreation and educational facilities; and other physical projects in support of primary economic and educational development.

Laramie County Commissioner Amber Ash said working on this project was different from previous projects in that officials were able to see the company’s manufacturing activities firsthand at the Cheyenne airport temporary facility.

“I think this project is very exciting and holds a lot of promise for Laramie County, and it’s low risk in terms of the already-established market for it,” Ash said.

Referring to its attributes, Coll said Cheyenne is unique with its “amazing rail transportation and cheap common carrier logistics.”

“It’s also got a decent electrical grid and cost-effective electricity,” she said. “Those are the big components that we normally look for.”

Steve Knight is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s local government reporter. He can be reached at 307-633-3182 or sknight@wyomingnews.com.

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