Post Register: Expansion to Bring In Jobs

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Post Register  | Clark Corbin |

Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot announced Tuesday that his company will spend more than $50 million building a new headquarters within Bonneville County.

Crews have broken ground on the 371,000-square-foot building, which is being built near Exit 113 off Interstate 15, near Melaleuca’s existing distribution center.

VanderSloot said the project is part of an aggressive expansion around the I-15 corridor that will include several buildings and create “hundreds” of new jobs. Melaleuca controls about 195 acres within the corridor near the highway.

“We’ve had many opportunities and offers from other cities to relocate in other states,” VanderSloot said. “But the work ethic here in Idaho Falls and the business friendly (atmosphere) in southeast Idaho and Bonneville County make a huge difference for bringing healthy businesses here and keeping healthy businesses here.”

VanderSloot said the expansion was driven entirely by product growth and sales. Last year, the 27-year-old business recorded more than $1 billion in global sales, a company record. Earlier this year, VanderSloot said the company obtained a vital patent for its product formulas.

The headquarters are expected to be complete in 2014 and will be roughly three times the size of Melaleuca’s existing office.

The new building will serve as the home to Melaleuca’s international and domestic operations, marketing, research and development, human resources, business and Web development and finance operations.

Plans also call for a 17,000-square-foot event center, video production studios and a restaurant and gym for employee use.

Melaleuca officials picked Idaho Falls-based Bateman-Hall Inc. to serve as the general contractor for the project, while the local company Harper-Leavitt Engineering is providing engineering services.

Linda Martin, CEO of the economic development group Grow Idaho Falls, said Melaleuca’s expansion is great news for the region. She said building activities will provide short-term job opportunities for the construction industry, while the overall expansion will offer more long-term jobs at Melaleuca.

Martin added that Melaleuca’s expansion and the infrastructure upgrades are spurring growth within the highway corridor, noting Love’s Travel Stop has broken ground in the area and other companies are seeking opportunities there.

“It helps companies that want to do this based on the fact that (Melaleuca) has already gone ahead and got the ball rolling,” Martin said.

Bonneville County Commissioner Roger Christensen said the expansion marks the fruition of a partnership that VanderSloot and Melaleuca executives forged with the county about 12 years ago.

“We worked together with Melaleuca to come up with a solution to open up an area of the county (for development), and we’ve started to see tremendous interest and tremendous growth,” Christensen said. “This is a classic example of what a public/private partnership should look like.”

VanderSloot said Melaleuca has donated $2.3 million to the county to develop infrastructure in the area near the project.

In July, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the county received a $399,000 Community Development Block Grant to expand infrastructure in the area, including for sewer work and to widen the road.

Once the new headquarters opens, Melaleuca will no longer need its existing office located on South Yellowstone Highway. VanderSloot said company officials are in the process of deciding whether they will donate or sell that building.