MANKATO — Animal nutrition company Ridley Inc., which two years ago became the anchor tenant in one of the new Tailwind towers downtown, has been downsized. The local office is changing from a national headquarters to a regional office.
Ridley was purchased in April 2015 by Alltech, a privately held animal health company based in Lexington, Kentucky. At the time Ridley, which had 700 employees in several states, had already signed a lease to move its national headquarters from older offices in Old Town to the new tower on the corner of Cherry Street and Riverfront Drive. At the time, the company said it would move 100 employees into the tower.
Beginning late last year Alltech reorganized and moved some Mankato employees to its corporate headquarters in Kentucky.
"There were several positions that were affected by the reorganization that took place in Sept. 2017. Many were offered roles within the Alltech company and relocated to our headquarters office in Nicholasville, Kentucky. All others were offered full severance packages and outplacement assistance," Alltech said in an email statement. The company did not say how many people were affected.
Alltech said in an email that it still has 88 people working out of the Ridley tower office and has several open positions it is actively seeking to fill.
The company said that new Alltech signs will soon be going up on the Mankato building, which will be the Alltech Minnesota regional office. The current signs list Ridley in large letters with "an Alltech company" in smaller letters underneath.
Ridley also operates Hubbard Feeds in Mankato.
"We currently have 125 employees in our Mankato facilities, and the number is growing as we offer new opportunities within many of our departments there," Alltech said. "We are also bringing members of our wider team in to this regional office from other segments of our business such as crop science and brewing and distilling."
Kyle Smith, of Tailwind Group, said the changes haven't changed the company's lease with Alltech/Ridley. "There are no changes that we've been made aware of."
He said Alltech/Ridley leases the top three floors of the five-story building and Northwestern Mutual leases the second floor.
Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges said any changes in the building do not affect the city. The Tailwind projects, which include the Profinium Place tower and Ridley tower, involved some city Renaissance loans that Tailwind is paying back, but otherwise taxpayers had no subsidies in the buildings. The private investment in the two towers has been listed at $30 million.
The city did build a $10 million public parking ramp between the two towers.
He said the city has been aware "of Alltech de-emphasizing this as an office."
Alltech purchased all of Ridley's shares, which were traded on the Toronto stock exchange, for about $428 million American dollars.
Alltech is involved in the animal feed, meat, seed and pet sectors and distills bourbon and whiskey.
Ridley purchased Hubbard Milling in 1997 and makes formulated animal feeds, premixes, feed supplements, block supplements, animal health products and feed ingredients.