SDWC Speculation on the Gorilla....

I had a reader drop me a note from Sioux Falls today with some of the most recent rumor and conjecture on the "gorilla project" that has all of Southeastern South Dakota in a state of mystery:
I am not sure if you have heard or don't like to print conjecture, but I have heard from a very reliable source in Sioux Falls that the big secret Gorilla project coming to SE SD / Elk Point area is Smithfield, the owners of Morrell. They plan to announce the closing of their major facilities in Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Kansas City (and another one).

Anyway, after closing all of these major locations they plan to build a very large facility at the rumored location in the SE which I would think would more than cover the lost jobs from the Sioux Falls location.
That would seem to fit with the speculation that the mysterious project would be a large Ag processing plant.

Can anyone confirm or deny? Or is this just the latest rumor to add to the pile?


Anonymous said…
Okay a little off topic BUT.
I knew the papers were using the blogs to find topics to talk about and information to use.
This just seems to confirm all the months of speculation!
I have read more than a sentance or a topic in some of the stae papers. Just putting two and two together.
Anonymous said…
Lawrence & Shiller's building their expansion plant there to accommodate the growth of new millions in state contracts and GOP campaign accounts.
Ben Nesselhuf said…
PP – Very good topic choice. I have more then a passing interest in what the Gorilla turns out to be. In addition to living in Vermillion, 8 short miles from this site, I grew up on 5 acres right in the middle of the proposed project. My parents still live there. The rumors have been flying around the neighborhood for months on what it might be. The problem with your source is that anyone who knows anything has signed a confidentiality agreement. Anybody who knows isn’t talking and anybody who is talking doesn’t know.
I was originally concerned that it would be a large feedlot or processing plant. After talking to some of the neighbors and hearing what price is being offered for land, this idea has lost some ground. There is simply not enough profit in cattle for this much money to be on the table. The rumor that seems to have the most traction right now is an automotive plant.
There are several people who are not interested in selling right now, no matter how much money they are offered. I think a lot of that is due to the high level of secrecy. We continue to hear that it will be good for the area but without any details it is impossible to know. I think this could have been handled better.
Anonymous said…
Ben -

It is understandable that people are apprehensive about the unknown. But these companies insist on secrecy when they are looking at their options for expansion, and if we do not honor that, they simply go elsewhere. That would be especially true if this Smithfield rumor turns out to be correct - they clearly would not want it to get out that they were closing three plants until they have in fact made the decision.

My point is - the level of secrecy is for the most part dictated by the company, not the State.
Ben Nesselhuf said…
10:17 –

I understand what you are saying and don’t disagree. At no point was I intending to imply that the state was at all responsible for the way this was handled. I’m simply saying that the locals are beyond apprehensive. Several, with large areas of land, have said they absolutely refuse to sell if they don’t know what is going to be built.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have encouraged by parents to take the money and run.
Anonymous said…
Has anyone check the register of deeds office on the purchases and the options? Then run out the filings to there conclusions?
Anonymous said…
The only thing I know for certain is the Argus Leader has certainly been way out front in the reporting of this story...

Thank you, Argus Leader, for trying to find out what the Gorilla is !
Douglas said…
It's a big fish farm. Tanks will be all over and Talapia or whatever will be jumping.

Actually that is just a fish story I just invented... as far as I know..

Interesting whatever or whoever..
Anonymous said…
The "Argus Wanna-Be Leader" is pursuing it like it's some huge conspiracy and are going to incredible lengths to fuel negative speculation, ie: nuclear plant, huge meat plant that will mean closure for Morrell's, etc. etc.

The Sioux City Journal is taking the opposite tone: they're having a contest! Everybody log in to their site with guesses and the closest guessor wins a prize.

Nice to see not everybody in the MSM takes themselves as seriously as the local rag does.
Anonymous said…
I could almost feel certain i read that it was going to be a meat packing company. I swear i read it on the net somewhere yesterday.

I may be wrong so don't hold me to this, and i don't know why anyone would so i guess i might have to hunt for it.

Did anybody else happen to see this on the net somewhere??????

I heard the company name also but i am not going to mention it just in case i am wrong.
Anonymous said…
Well if all else fails, Elk Point is in the news and with the possibility of potential employment maybe people will head there to build homes and open businesses.

Is that good PR?????
Robert Lawrence said…
Rumors about Smithfield wanting to build a John Morrell plant in Union County, SD, makes financial sense for them. Consolidating the plants at Sioux Falls and Sioux City at a single location would help them modernize and streamline operations. Sioux City economic developers want the plant out of their town so they can continue to redevelop the old stockyards and get rid of the Morrell blight and smell. Adding credibility to this is the fact that recently, the executive director of the Siouxland Chamber's economic development arm - The Siouxland Initiative - chastised the news media, including the Sioux City Journal, for reporting the rumors, saying it could jeopardize the deal.
Anonymous said…
A Wall Street Journal reporter was in town earlier this week interviewing a number of landowners and citzens. Whatever is coming to our town is bigger than a meat packing plant. Some who know what it is state Gorilla will have a positive effect over a very large region. I've been told not to believe any of the speculation that has been printed thus far. As Sen. Thune relayed in his Argus leader interview, this project is something new for South Dakota and those "in the know" indicate technology and engineering jobs make up the vast majority of the projected 2000 employees.

This will be front page Wall Street Journal when announced.
Anonymous said…
Look for Marathon Oil and a new oil refinery.

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