Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Melaleuca unveils plans for $50 million office complex

An artist's rendering of the new Melaleuca office building
Despite generous offers to relocate, Melaleuca is in eastern Idaho to stay, company president and CEO Frank VanderSloot said Tuesday.

VanderSloot announced the company is breaking ground on a $50 million, 371,000-square-foot corporate headquarters south of Idaho Falls, scheduled to be completed in spring 2014. Melaleuca, which sells vitamins, personal care and household items worldwide through a person-to-person network of "marketing executives," has been steadily growing for the past 12 years on land near Interstate 15 Exit 113. The new building will be triple in size the amount of office space the company has.

The company also has research and development, manufacturing and a large distribution warehouse in and around Idaho Falls, as well as a 600-person call center in Rexburg. While he conceded that distance and transportation expenses put eastern Idaho at a disadvantage for large scale manufacturing, VanderSloot said the region's business climate and work force are pluses that kept the company here.

Situated on 43 acres, the new office will be home to Melaleuca's international and domestic business offices. It will include a 500-person call center, a 17,000-square-foot events area and a state-of-the-art video production studio.

The stage for expansion was set in July with the announcement of a $399,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to Bonneville County for sewer line extensions, a lift station and roadway widening. Melaleuca contributed $1 million of its own money to the project, bringing its total infrastructure investment in the area to $2.3 million.

Bonneville County Commissioner Roger Christensen hailed the arrangement between the county and Melaleuca as "what a public-private partnership should look like. Other company a looking at coming in here. It's a bright spot for economic development in the county."

The general contractor on the new office project is Bateman-Hall and Harper-Leavitt is the engineering company. "We want to use local contractors whenever possible," VanderSloot said.

He said he expected new jobs to result from the new project, but declined to say how many. The company, which passed the $1 billion sales mark in 2011, comes up with seven or eight new products a year.