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MU Law Poll: Governor’s race still a dead heat
September 17, 2014 12:35 PM
The latest Marquette University Law School Poll results released today again showed Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke are neck and neck.

Among registered voters, Walker and Burke each had 46 percent, with 5 percent undecided. Among likely voters, Walker gained ground. He had 49 percent of likely voter support, while Burke had 46 percent and 4 percent were undecided.

Each of the poll questions was within the poll’s statistical margin of error, said poll chief Charles Franklin.

The poll was conducted from Sept. 11 to 14 and included 800 registered voters and 589 likely voters who were interviewed by both landline and cell phone. There was a 3.5 percent margin of error for registered voters and a 4.1 percent margin of error for likely voters.

“Likely voters have seen a real blossoming of Republican excitement, and that has helped Walker among likely voters,” Franklin said. “The main point is this: Still inside the margin of error, still no evidence now for the fourth poll in a row, of a clear front runner.”

In the August poll, Walker garnered 47.5 percent of registered voter support and Burke held 44.1 percent. And among likely voters, Burke held 48.6 percent and Walker had 46.5 percent.

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Kohl’s to up holiday hiring to 67,000
September 17, 2014 11:14 AM
Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Department Stores today announced it will hire about 67,000 employees around the country for the holiday season.

That averages out to about 50 additional employees at each of the company’s 1,163 retail stores in 49 states, plus 9,300 seasonal workers at its distribution centers and about 670 seasonal credit operations employees.

It’s a significant bump from the 50,000 employees Kohl’s hired for last year’s holiday season. Most of the additional hires are in the distribution centers, where only 6,400 seasonal employees were hired last year. During the 2013 holiday shopping season, Kohl’s said it would pay the full price for items not delivered in time for Christmas after some deliveries were delayed by higher-than-expected demand.

Kohl’s is in the process of hiring for the retail jobs, which will mostly be filled by mid-November. Distribution center hiring began in August, and is ongoing. Those employees will help ship products to retail stores and Kohls.com customers. Credit operations employees will help with a variety of tasks, including helping customers with Kohls.com orders.

“Kohl’s is building a winning team by hiring more than 67,000 seasonal associates across the country to ensure we sustain the great service our customers know and have come to expect,” said Richard Schepp, Kohl’s senior executive vice president, human resources and general counsel. “By adding these associates, Kohl’s will continue to deliver an enjoyable and convenient shopping experience to all our valued customers, whether they choose to shop in store or online at Kohls.com this holiday season.”

More information about the positions is available at kohlscareers.com.

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Niagara Bottling to hire 70 in Pleasant Prairie
September 17, 2014 10:37 AM
Niagara Bottling LLC will host a recruitment event on Oct. 8 to fill 70 positions at its new facility in Pleasant Prairie.

The Ontario, Calif.-based company is building a $56 million, 377,000-square-foot plant in the LakeView Corporate Park, 11031 88th Ave. in Pleasant Prairie, for packaging and distributing private label water and Niagara label water. The facility is expected to be operational in early 2015.

Niagara, which initially planned to have one production line at the facility, will now build two high-speed, automated production lines in the building and has allowed space to add additional lines in the future.

Niagara’s recruitment event will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the SC Johnson iMET Center at Gateway Technical College in Sturtevant. Experienced production supervisors, production operators, injection operators, maintenance mechanics, shipping associates, dock coordinators, quality assurance associates and others with similar experience are encouraged to apply.
Applicants, who must be 18 or older and have a high school diploma or GED, should bring a resume and be prepared to sit for an interview.

Also at the event, held in cooperation with the Kenosha Area Business Alliance and the Kenosha County Job Center, Niagara will provide background for applicants about its culture and the new plant. There will be a pre-screening process, followed by interviews of qualified candidates. Those who successfully complete the interview, and pass drug and background checks, will be hired the same day.

When the new plant is completed, Niagara will have 19 U.S. facilities. It is the largest private label bottled water supplier in the U.S., catering to grocery, club and convenience stores and wholesale customers.

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BizTimes expands team
September 17, 2014 10:40 AM
BizTimes Media has added three new employees to its staff.

Hilary Dickinson has joined the editorial team as a reporter. Dickinson most recently served as the college's news writer/editor at Beloit College, where she wrote and edited content for Beloit College Magazine, as well as the college's e-newsletters, news releases and marketing materials. She has previous experience as a reporter at the Beloit Daily News and has written two books.

A native of Waukesha, Dickinson holds a bachelor's in journalism and mass communication from the University of Minnesota. At BizTimes, she will cover the manufacturing and health care beats for BizTimes Milwaukee magazine and BizTimes.com. Dickinson joins reporter Erica Breunlin, associate editor Molly Dill, managing editor Andrew Weiland and executive editor Steve Jagler in the editorial department.

Kristin Jackson has joined the BizTimes sales team as an account executive. Jackson has 16 years of sales experience, primarily in print and digital media. Most recently, she was with Lake Country Publications, a division of Journal Communications, focusing on media sales for 11 publications in northern Waukesha County.

Jackson has two teenage sons and lives in Waukesha. She holds a bachelor's in communication from Alverno College. At BizTimes, Jackson will sell advertising and sponsorships for BizTimes Milwaukee, BizTimes.com and a calendar of live events catering to the business community of southeastern Wisconsin. Jackson joins business development executive Maribeth Lynch, senior account executive Jon Armstrong, senior account executive Amber Stancer, manager of strategic initiatives Robert Bahillo and director of sales Linda Crawford in the sales department.

Alex Schneider has joined the production and design team as a graphic designer. Schneider is a recent graduate of Carroll University, where he earned a bachelor's in graphic communications with an emphasis in graphic design, as well as a minor in marketing. He gained graphic design experience through his coursework and at internships at The Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion and at Carroll University's Scholars Center program.

Schneider recently moved to Milwaukee. At BizTimes, he will design marketing and promotional collateral and assist with the layout of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joins art director Shelly Tabor and creative coordinator Matt Cisz in the production and design department.

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Journal broadcast reorganization plan announced
September 17, 2014 10:54 AM
A planned reorganization of the corporate structure of radio and television operations of Journal Broadcast Group under E.W. Scripps was announced with an internal memo today.

Under the plan, Steve Wexler, in charge of the radio group, and Debbie Turner, executive vice president of television for Journal Broadcast and general manager of WTVF-TV in Nashville, Tenn., will report to Brian Lawlor, senior vice president of television for Cincinnati-based Scripps.

Wexler, formerly executive vice president of radio and television and general manager of WTMJ-TV (Channel 4), is executive vice president of the radio division.

The planned broadcast reorganization was announced by Rich Boehne, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Scripps, and Tim Stautberg, CEO of the new Journal Media Group. It  was released by Steven Smith, chairman and CEO of Journal Communications, which also owns the Journal Sentinel.

The Journal Sentinel will combine with 13 Scripps newspapers to become part of Journal Media Group. Journal Sentinel publisher and president Betsy Brenner, who is also a vice president of Journal Communications, will become vice president regional publisher for Journal Media. The combined newspaper division will be spun off into another publicly traded company that will be based in Milwaukee.

The deal is expected to close in 2015.

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Lakefront lights to be upgraded
September 17, 2014 10:57 AM
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced today that the street lights along Lincoln Memorial Drive will be upgraded from high-pressure sodium bulbs to LEDs.

The upgrade will be covered by the Innovation Fund that Abele put in the 2014 budget and was approved by the Milwaukee County Board. The Parks Department will upgrade 350 light poles along Lincoln Memorial Drive.

The move is expected to reduce electricity usage along Lincoln Memorial Drive by 50 percent and save more than $14,000 per year. Upgrading the lights will also significantly reduce staff time that is spent maintaining the current lights, Abele said.

“Since taking office we’ve been making big changes across the county to become more sustainable and efficient. This project and the entire Innovation Program highlights that progress,” Abele said. “By moving to LED lighting we save significant tax dollars every year, use less energy and improve the lighting along our beautiful lakefront.”

Abele’s $4 million Innovation Fund uses land sale revenue, not tax dollars. All projects that receive funding must prove they will make the county more efficient and save money in the long run.

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: Koss Corp. faces steep challenges
September 17, 2014 11:20 AM
Koss Corp. recently reported an annual fiscal net loss of $5.6 million.

BizTimes executive editor Steve Jagler outlines the company’s challenges in today’s Milwaukee Biz Blog.

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Morning Headlines: Fairfield Inn & Suites to be built in Verona
September 17, 2014 11:21 AM
Ground was broken Wednesday for a $5.5 million, three-story Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel development at 613 West Verona Ave., Verona.

Read more in today’s Wisconsin Morning Headlines.

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Real Estate Weekly: Shoppes at Prairie Ridge sale price pegged at $32.5 million
September 17, 2014 11:23 AM
The Shoppes at Prairie Ridge shopping center in Pleasant Prairie will be sold to Oak Brook, Ill.-based Inland Real Estate Income Trust Inc. for about $32.5 million, according to an SEC filing.

Read more in today’s Real Estate Weekly.

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Shoppes at Prairie Ridge sold as part of $318 million portfolio deal
September 16, 2014 12:16 PM
The Shoppes at Prairie Ridge, a shopping center in Pleasant Prairie, is part of a 15-property retail real estate portfolio that Oak Brook, Ill.-based Inland Real Estate Income Trust Inc. is buying from Indianapolis-based Kite Realty Group Trust for $318 million, Inland and Kite announced today.

The Shoppes at Prairie Ridge is a 364,310-square-foot shopping center located at the southeast corner of Highway 50 and 104th Avenue in Pleasant Prairie. Tenants include: Target, JC Penney, Dick’s Sporting Goods, PetSmart and Ulta Cosmetics. The Target store is owned by Target, but the rest of the shopping center is being acquired by Inland.

Mid-America Real Estate Wisconsin will continue to market the Shoppes at Prairie Ridge.

The properties in the portfolio being acquired by Inland are located in eight states and also include the Fox Point Plaza, a 171,121-square-foot shopping center anchored by a Pick ‘n Save store in Neenah, and a Copps grocery store property in Stevens Point, both of which are also marketed by Mid-America Real Estate.

The portfolio deal is expected to close in two tranches on or before Dec. 15 and March 16, 2015.

In July, Kite Realty acquired Inland Diversified Real Estate Trust Inc. for $1.2 billion. Inland Diversified Real Estate Trust and Inland Real Estate Income Trust are both real estate investment trusts that were sponsored by Oak Brook, Ill.-based Inland Real Estate Investment Corp., but they are separate companies.

“Since well before the closing of the merger with Inland Diversified in early July, we have been diligently evaluating the geographic and demographic composition of our recently expanded portfolio,” said John Kite, chairman and CEO of Kite Realty. “The properties we will be selling to Inland (Real Estate) Income Trust represent assets that we consider to be non-core based upon our geographic objectives as we are looking for opportunities to increase our scale in select markets, consistent with our strategy. We look forward to redeploying the proceeds from these sales into assets that are more in line with our long-term strategic objectives and will add additional shareholder value.”

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RFQ seeks 'world class' design for Lakefront Gateway Plaza
September 16, 2014 12:19 PM
The City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County Parks and a “group of local stakeholders” have issued a request for qualifications seeking a design team to create plans for a “world class public plaza” that would be created on the lakefront between Lincoln Memorial Drive and Discovery World.

The project, called Lakefront Gateway Plaza, is part of the Lakefront Gateway Plan to enhance the lakefront and improve public access between the lakefront and downtown.

Street improvements planned in the area include the extension of Clybourn Street east to Discovery World, and enhancement of Clybourn into a boulevard. The Lakefront Gateway Plaza would be located on an 80,000-square-foot space 150 feet west of the lakefront between Discovery World, the extended Clybourn Street, Lincoln Memorial Drive and Michigan Street.

Preliminary plans to add a pedestrian bridge through the proposed Couture development show the pedestrian bridge connected to the lakefront at the Lakefront Gateway Plaza site.

The budget for the Lakefront Gateway Plaza project and the source of the funds to pay for it are yet to be determined, said Department of City Development spokesman Jeff Fleming.

The RFQ is the first phase of an anticipated two-phase process. The plan is to select up to four qualified teams to participate in a future design process for the Lakefront Gateway Plaza. Once the top teams are selected the second phase of the design process would be the preparation of proposals by those selected teams for final judging and selection of one design team. The winning team would work with the city, county and the stakeholder group to complete the design process.

Responses to the RFQ are due on Nov. 3.

More information about the Lakefront Gateway Plaza RFQ is available here.

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UWM opens new School of Freshwater Sciences
September 16, 2014 12:24 PM
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee opened its state-of-the-art School of Freshwater Sciences building on Friday with a dedication and celebration that drew more than 600 people.

The new building, which has been under construction for about two years, is now home to the school’s multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research initiatives surrounding freshwater.

“The new (building) will enable us to use the best equipment in the best environment,” David Garman, Ph.D., dean of the School of Freshwater Sciences, told Biztimes in an interview last month.

According to Garman, the school’s old complex, a 40-year-old facility that previously housed the Great Lakes Water Institute, was “unsuitable” for the school’s state-of-the-art research – void of adequate resources, space, clean labs and proper exhaust fumes.

While the school’s faculty have been spearheading quality research, Garman compared it to working “with one hand tied behind your back.”

Still, the old facility, adjacent to the new building, will continue to be used with square footage for research labs, boat operations, and aquaculture research and training, among other workspace.

The new site and its updated amenities will “enable us to take our research to the next stage,” Garman said.

Among the new facility’s most innovative features is its top-flight research equipment, including next-generation sequencing machines for the genomic laboratory, new trace and ultra-trace analytic devices for metals and organic compounds, and new high-security biological examination laboratories. The site also contains innovative student laboratories and teaching laboratories – the first of their kind for the school.

Garman said another significant advantage of the new space is the collaborative nature of its infrastructure.

“And I suppose the greatest benefit that we are actually going to get out of this is that we’ll have all the researchers in areas so that they can interact, be truly multidisciplinary, and create a culture of innovation and cutting edge research, which was very difficult in the old building,” he said.

“So the people aspect is almost just as important as the equipment aspect,” Garman said.

Along with celebrating its opening on Friday night, the school welcomed about 1,000 community members on Saturday for public tours and science demonstrations.

To view a photo gallery of the new facility, check out BizTimes’ Around Town gallery.

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Regus to establish Third Ward business center
September 16, 2014 12:32 PM
Regus, which provides flexible offices and meeting spaces for small business tenants, plans to establish a business center in The Mayer building at 342 N. Water St. in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward neighborhood.

Regus recently leased 12,500 square feet of space in the building, which is owned by Pieper Properties Inc. The deal was brokered by Lyle Landowski and Mike Wanazek of Colliers International|Wisconsin.

Regus currently has business center locations at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale, 200 S. Executive Dr. in Brookfield, at 11414 W. Park Place on the far northwest side of Milwaukee and in the 250 Plaza building at 250 E. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee.

Regus has 2,000 locations in 750 cities and 100 countries.

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IT firm to move Brookfield office downtown
September 16, 2014 12:22 PM
Logicalis, a London-based IT firm, plans to move its Brookfield office to the Pabst Professional Center, the new office building recently completed in the former Pabst brewery complex in downtown Milwaukee.

Logicalis signed a lease for 3,060 square feet of space in the Pabst Professional Center. Mike Wanezek, Dan Wroblewski and Lyle Landowski of Colliers International|Wisconsin brokered the deal for Blue Ribbon Management LLC, which is the developer of the building. Logicalis was represented by Steffi Hahn of Cresa.

The firm’s office in Brookfield is currently located at 20300 Water Tower Boulevard.

The Pabst Professional Center is a five-story building built northeast of West Juneau Avenue and North 11th Street, behind the Brewhouse Inn & Suites hotel. The building has interior parking on the first three floors and 42,000 square feet of office space on the upper three floors.

The only other tenant announced for the building is the Shanghai-based De Mei Law Firm.

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Zilber Family Foundation donates $800,000 toward neighborhood revitalization
September 16, 2014 12:30 PM
The Zilber Family Foundation is investing close to $800,000 in the continuous effort to revitalize and beautify area neighborhoods, according to an announcement made by its board of directors today.

The foundation’s funding is broken down into two grants that will support a broader strategy to improve housing conditions in Milwaukee’s Clarke Square and Layton Boulevard West neighborhoods and advance a commercial development project on North Avenue in Lindsay Heights.

“The physical conditions in neighborhoods have a demonstrated impact on factors such as social relationships, health outcomes, safety, and child development,” said Susan Lloyd, executive director of the Zilber Family Foundation. “Investments in developing and preserving homes and buildings will have far reaching positive effects on the quality of life in neighborhoods.”

One of the grants, totaling $299,000 will be distributed to Layton Boulevard West Neighbors over two years. Grant dollars will assist the nonprofit with its home improvement strategies and will support a pool of matching grants available for homeowners needing to make exterior home repairs in the Clarke Square and Layton Boulevard West neighborhoods.

“With continued support from the Zilber Family Foundation, we will connect neighbors with resources to renovate their homes that will result in enhanced neighborhood appearance, stabilized home values, and bolstered community pride and confidence,” said Charlotte John-Gomez, executive director of Layton Boulevard West Neighbors.

A second $500,000 grant will back the Lindsay Heights commercial corridor along North Avenue. The grant, awarded to Walnut Way Conservation Corporation, will assist in phase one development of the Innovations and Wellness Commons, a project set to repurpose North Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets. Once complete, the Commons will house resources such as social services, economic development programs, job opportunities, and new businesses working to fulfill the needs of the neighborhood.

The entire commercial development project is projected to attract more than $6 million of investment. The site’s development team includes Baker Tilly, CG Schmidt, Mayer Helminiak Architects, Reinhart Boerner Van Duren s.c., and Juli Kaufmann of Fix Development.

“The Zilber grant will make a tremendous difference,” said Sharon Adams, Walnut Way’s program director.

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