Cover story: The Amazon effect
September 29, 2014 11:51 AM
The next major distribution center development in Kenosha could have a profound effect on the area's economy. Seattle-based online retailer is nearing completion of construction on a 1.1-million-square-foot distribution center and a 500,000-square-foot distribution center northeast of I-94 and 38th Street in Kenosha.

Read about the economic impact the centers will have on the area economy in the cover story of the new issue of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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Task Force estimates cultural assets need $445 million over next 20 years
September 29, 2014 11:52 AM
Funding a new arena, completing deferred maintenance and making capital improvements to the Milwaukee region's cultural assets will cost about $445 million, according to the Cultural & Entertainment Capital Needs Task Force.

Jay Williams, a Task Force co-chair, laid out the potential uses and annual funds required for the Milwaukee Art Museum/War Memorial, Milwaukee Public Museum, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts and the Milwaukee County Zoo in a report at its meeting Monday morning at the Milwaukee Public Museum. The figures included estimates from a Public Policy Forum report about the issue.

The costs average out to $33.9 million in annual funds each year for the next two decades.

Deferred maintenance costs are expected to require a $105 million investment over the next 20 years. Among the deferred maintenance costs awaiting funding: replacement of exterior windows at MAM, modernizing the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater elevator and upgrading the fire alarm system at MPM.

Capital improvements will require about $140 million. The funds would be used for projects including: a new entrance and bus turnaround at MPM, a renovation of Vogel Hall at the Marcus Center, reinstallation of collections at MAM and new hippo and sea lion exhibits at the zoo.

A new downtown arena would cost an estimated $500 million, with $300 million of that expected from the new Milwaukee Bucks owners, minority owners and private contributions, the Task Force said. That means about 40 percent of the project would be publicly financed.

The Task Force pointed out that this is far less public financing than has been required for other recent urban arenas nationwide. A Marquette University Law School study found that of for 23 arenas constructed between 1995 and 2016, the average share of public financing was more than 70 percent.

The figures all assume a 4.25 percent borrowing rate, level payments over 20 years and general obligation debt.

Williams compared the annual cost of $33.9 million to other annual spending for programs in Milwaukee. Miller Park, for example, costs $26.8 million each year, while $261 million is spent on county transportation (airport, highways and transit) and $1.98 billion is spent on Milwaukee County schools (all Milwaukee Public Schools, charter, choice and Milwaukee County suburban schools).

The Task Force also evaluated potential sources of funds. Among those proposed: a consumption tax on beer, liquor and cigarettes for the four county metro area; Tax Incremental Financing (TIF), where future gains in taxes are used to subsidize current improvements in a particular geographic area; a ticket tax for all paid attendees, regardless of county of residence or ticket purchase location; and an increased sales tax.

Task Force members discussed the options in small groups and shared their questions about the options with those gathered at the public meeting. The Task Force will continue to gather questions and provide information for a couple of weeks and reconvene on Oct. 14 to compile a report on its findings.

“The next phase is really to move into the visioning,” Williams said. “The critical thing going forward is…once we move into the next phase…we do have to do some sophisticated polling to understand what’s possible. We’ve got a lot of good people putting visions together, but we’ve got to have a vision we can all get behind.”

Two public listening sessions regarding the options will be held, following the meeting on Oct. 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and on Oct. 16 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

After it has released its report in December, the Task Force plans to disband.

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Dorner named Milwaukee Downtown economic development director
September 29, 2014 10:39 AM
Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, has hired Matt Dorner to serve as its economic development director.

Dorner has more than 10 years of urban planning, community and economic development experience, most recently as assistant director/economic development specialist for the Village of Menomonee Falls Community Development Department. There, he was responsible for economic and community development projects including the creation of Tax Incremental District No. 12, and a downtown matching grant program that boosted more than $700,000 in private sector investment.

At Milwaukee Downtown, Dorner will lead the deployment of economic development initiatives laid out in the Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 strategic plan. He will also work to retain, grow and attract both retail and office tenants to the central business district.

“From concept to fruition, Matt brings efficiency and tenacity to all stages of a project,” said Beth Weirick, chief executive officer of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21. “His track record for developing incentive packages, implementing creative placemaking and luring new development to underutilized areas, makes him a strong asset to our organization. We’re thrilled to add his talents to our team.”

Milwaukee Downtown’s five-year plan included the creation of the economic development director position in 2012. It was previously held by Steven Looft.

Dorner will be responsible for updating the CEO call program; building a rapport with national site selectors; analyzing and maintaining current market data; identifying existing incentives and opportunities for new incentives at the state, city and county level; and serving as a conduit for information, options and referrals among building owners, real estate representatives and prospective tenants, according to Milwaukee Downtown.

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U.S. Bank Center parking structure re-opens
September 29, 2014 11:55 AM
The parking structure at the U.S. Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee has been re-opened, after it had been closed last week, a U.S. Bank spokeswoman said this morning.

About 1,000 downtown employees had to find somewhere else to park while the structure was closed. Most of them were parking last week at a lot near Henry Maier Festival Park and a shuttle transported them to the U.S. Bank Center at 777 E. Wisconsin Ave.

The parking structure, located at 716 E. Clybourn St., was closed because of concern about the movement of a wall. The movement of a north wall of the structure was caused by excavation work being done on the construction of the 833 East office building next to the parking structure. Irgens is building the 17-story tower at 833 E. Michigan St. The general contractor is CG Schmidt Inc.

After the movement of the parking structure wall, U.S. Bank closed the parking structure, stabilized it with support beams, and reopened it last week Monday after it was determined safe for use.

However, an engineer with the original contractor of the parking structure decided to bring in a third party to evaluate the structure, and it was again closed on Tuesday.

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‘Milwaukee’s Finest’ seeking nominations for 2015 campaign
September 29, 2014 11:59 AM
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-Wisconsin Chapter is eying a $60,000 fundraising goal as it enters the fourth year of its Milwaukee’s Finest Campaign.

The nonprofit organization has opened up the nomination process for the 2015 campaign and is encouraging southeastern Wisconsin’s business community to nominate young professionals deemed promising future leaders.

Through the Milwaukee’s Finest Campaign, a lineup of the region’s most accomplished young professionals compete to raise as much money as possible for CFF in whatever ways they find most effective.

Funds collected benefit the organization’s mission to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis and raise money toward a cure of the chronic disease, which causes mucus to accumulate in the lungs and digestive tract among other areas in the body.

Along with fundraising for 10 weeks, honorees are paired with a family impacted by cystic fibrosis so that they can learn about the effects of the disease firsthand. Honorees also get an opportunity to tour the cystic fibrosis care center and research lab at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and attend professional coaching sessions to gain insight on viable fundraising strategies.

At the end of the 10-week stretch, from March through May, the honoree who has raised the most money will be named “Milwaukee’s Finest” and will receive the “Breath of Life” award.

The campaign is “a great entry for emerging leaders in the Milwaukee area” to become part of a large-scale philanthropic effort, said Jon Donahue, vice president, private banking, at Johnson Bank and a member of the Milwaukee’s Finest committee.

While the fundraising initiative collects proceeds for CFF, it also engages greater Milwaukee’s young professionals in the community and opens up a new networking outlet.

“You will walk away from the experience as I have…feeling good about yourself, feeling good about you’re doing something for somebody else, and you’re going to meet some great people along the way who will be, as I’ve found in my own personal life, great friends who will be with you for a long time,” Stew Brase told perspective honorees at a kick-off event CFF hosted at Evolution Milwaukee last week.

Brase is a director at Ernst & Young and also serves as a corporate recruitment chairperson for the campaign.

On the corporate side, the campaign benefits participating companies with “visibility” and “recognition,” as it reinforces corporate responsibility, Brase said.

“And there’s a corporate responsibility that goes along with being part of the community, which is ‘you should want your people to want to make the environment around them better,’” he said.

Last year’s fundraiser, which BizTimes Media sponsored, generated $48,000 among 11 honorees, surpassing the campaign’s $45,000 goal. Honorees included employees from OS Inc., Robert W. Baird & Co., Rockwell Automation, Johnson Bank, Johnson Controls, and Ernst & Young.

Nominations from companies of all sizes and industries are encouraged for the 2015 initiative. Nominations are submitted through a form and are typically authored by supervisors or peers of young professionals. The campaign will also accept applications from young professionals who have not been nominated by a colleague or employer.

Nomination forms are due Thursday, Feb. 5. Individuals nominated are then required to send CFF an application detailing their professional and civic achievements by Thursday, Feb. 12.

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: ‘In Wisconsin’ brand boosts water technology cluster
September 29, 2014 12:03 PM
Representatives from more than 50 Wisconsin companies are showcasing their water technology solutions at the annual Water Environment Federation Technology Exhibition and Conference in New Orleans.

Wisconsin's water industry strength is receiving special attention at this year's event through the joint efforts of The Water Council and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Read more in today’s Milwaukee Biz Blog by Kelly Lietz, vice president of marketing and communications at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., who is at the event this week.

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Morning Headlines: Product design firm tripling its space, expanding biotech services
September 29, 2014 12:04 PM
Betting in large part on the booming biotech sector, engineering design firm InForm Product Development will spend $2.8 million to dramatically expand its footprint in Sun Prairie and nearly double its workforce, enabling new services including niche manufacturing for customers in the bioscience and lab equipment fields.

Read more in today’s Wisconsin Morning Headlines.

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Manufacturing Weekly: Manufacturing executives share forecasts
September 29, 2014 12:05 PM
A panel of accomplished chief executive officers will discuss the challenges and opportunities for competing in a global economy at the 2014 BizTimes Manufacturing Summit.

Read more in today’s Manufacturing Weekly.

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Mitchell impacted by Chicago airport shutdowns
September 26, 2014 09:28 AM
A fire at a radar facility near Chicago shut down air traffic in the Chicago area for several hours Friday morning.

The fire was reported at the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control building in Aurora, Ill. around 5:45 a.m. Friday, according to WISN 12 News, a media partner of BizTimes Milwaukee.

The facility was evacuated while firefighters investigated the report of smoke.

Responders found a person suffering from cuts to at least one wrist, two law enforcement officials told CNN, citing initial reports from investigators. The person is being treated and questioned about the fire, which appears to have been intentionally set, the officials said. Investigators believe the person tried to commit suicide, the officials said.

The fire is not believed to be a terrorism act, Aurora Police Chief Greg Thomas told reporters. It appears to have been set by a contract employee, he said. Two people were injured: the male suffering from self-inflicted wounds and a man, 50, who was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, Thomas said.

A ground stop at O'Hare and Midway airports was ordered during the evacuation. Air traffic at Madison's airport was also affected by the fire.

The radar facility handles air traffic above 10,000 feet for a portion of the upper Midwest. Flights in and out of Chicago's airports began moving around 10 a.m., but many delays and cancellations had already taken place.

Dozens of flights at Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport were canceled around 8:30 a.m. according to spokeswoman Pat Rowe. She said flights are not being diverted to Milwaukee at this time, but the four-hour closure of O'Hare and Midway is causing a domino effect across the Midwest.

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SC Johnson buys Sealed Air building
September 26, 2014 11:27 AM
Racine-based S.C. Johnson has agreed to purchase the Sturtevant building being vacated by Sealed Air Corp.

The company expects the purchase to be finalized in November, said Jam Stewart, a spokesperson for S.C. Johnson. The 277,000-square-foot building will be leased back to Sealed Air through 2015, and will then be modified for S.C. Johnson’s purposes. The company expects to move employees into the building in spring 2016, but has not yet determined which functions will be based there.

While the purchase price was not disclosed, “this will be a significant investment and further demonstrates our commitment to the area,” Stewart said.

Sealed Air announced in July that it will move its headquarters and 1,300 jobs, including all 300 in Sturtevant, to Charlotte, N.C. The company, which is currently headquartered in Elmwood Park, N.J., acquired Sturtevant-based sanitation solutions firm Diversey Holdings Inc. in 2011. At the time, Diversey had 10,000 employees and net sales of $3.1 billion.

Sealed Air, which develops food packaging, shipping, cleaning and hygiene solutions, will begin moving its operations in mid-2015.

The Sealed Air building, located at 8310 16th St., is across the street from S.C. Johnson’s Waxdale manufacturing facility, and has open collaboration spaces, state-of-the-art laboratories, and a full-service cafeteria and gym, Stewart said.

S.C. Johnson manufactures several brand name household products, including Windex, Glade, Off!, Raid, Pledge and Scrubbing Bubbles. The company is privately held by members of the Johnson family. More than 3,000 S.C. Johnson employees are based in Racine.

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Kenosha Uptown Brass Pick ‘n Save store sold for $9.25 million
September 26, 2014 11:24 AM
Wauwatosa-based Wangard Partners recently sold the Pick ‘n Save grocery store in the Uptown Brass Center in Kenosha to a Michigan-based firm for $9.25 million, according to state records.

The 56,622-square-foot grocery store is located on a 6-acre site at 1901 63rd St. in Kenosha. It was purchased by Norton Shores, Mich.-based CCG Properties-AD LLC.

The Uptown Brass Center is a 10.3-acre mixed-use redevelopment of a former brownfield site once occupied by American Brassworks Company. Wangard acquired the site several years ago from a previous developer that had partially completed the redevelopment project.

In addition to the Pick ‘n Save store, the Uptown Brass Center has a TCF Bank on an outlot, a mixed-use building with 26 apartments and 12,800 square feet of retail space, a vacant 1.2-acre site, and a 1.4-acre site with the foundation of an uncompleted building.

Each piece of the site is for sale, but Wangard will remain the management firm for the property, said Mark Lake, director of retail development for Wangard.

“We are in the process of selling off the parts of it, but we will still be managing the property for the forseeable future,” he said.

The firm is in talks with a potential buyer for the TCF Bank building, Lake said.

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Kohler Power names new group president
September 26, 2014 09:31 AM
Tom Cromwell, president of Kohler Engines since 2009, has assumed responsibility for Kohler Co.’s worldwide power operations. He will report directly to David Kohler, president and chief operating officer.

As the new group president of Kohler Power, Cromwell will provide strategic and operational leadership for the group’s engines and power systems businesses worldwide. He will be responsible for driving the growth and profitability of the Power Group businesses consisting of Kohler Power Systems, SDMO Power Systems, UPSL, Kohler Engines and Lombardini.

Cromwell joined Kohler after 18 years at Racine-based Modine Manufacturing Co., where he served as regional vice president of the Americas Region and also held a series of general management positions in Modine’s commercial products division, electronics cooling division and heavy duty division. His experience included a three-year assignment overseas in Stuttgart, Germany, for Modine’s European automotive and heavy duty equipment divisions.

Headquartered in Kohler, Kohler Co. is a global leader in the manufacture of kitchen and bath products, engines and power systems, furniture, cabinetry and tile. It also owns and operates two five-star hospitality and golf resort destinations in Kohler and St Andrews, Scotland.

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Advertising pioneers join Hall of Fame
September 26, 2014 09:57 AM
Three advertising creative forces were inducted Thursday night into the Wisconsin Advertising Hall of Fame.

The new inductees are: Steve Laughlin, chief executive officer of Laughlin Constable; retired creative director Tom Jordan from Hoffman York (now HY Connect); and Madison’s Marsh Lindsay, CEO of Lindsay, Stone & Briggs.

The ceremonies took place at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee as part of the Milwaukee Adworkers 99 Ad Show.

Jordan and Laughlin helped put Milwaukee advertising in the national spotlight with their national and internationally recognized creative campaigns in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Lindsay broke the glass ceiling for women in advertising by starting in 1978 and growing one of Madison’s largest and most successful ad agencies.

The Wisconsin Advertising Hall of Fame, which was established in 2012, honors the achievements and preserves the work of Wisconsin’s greatest advertising and design professionals. Besides highlighting the three honorees, five iconic and nationally award-winning ad campaigns will be inducted as well.

Among the classic campaigns being inducted is Milwaukee’s popular and long-running Koss billboard campaign. Nationally award-winning campaigns from TV-24, local FrieseMueller Plumbing and National Figure Eight Barefoot Championships also are being honored. Along with the vintage 1988 Wisconsin Tourism TV spot featuring Bob Uecker.

According to Hall of Fame Chairperson, Gary Mueller, 2014 is a very special class of inductees.

“These are three people who made a huge impact through their careers on Wisconsin advertising,” Mueller said. “Lindsay broke the glass ceiling for women in an industry that up until only a decade ago was completely dominated by men. And Laughlin and Jordan transformed Milwaukee from a town known for beer, brats and cheese, to one known for national caliber advertising creative.”

The inductees and other works can be found online at

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: Who can put a stop to data breaches?
September 26, 2014 11:31 AM
As more and more data breaches occur, every participant in the U.S. payment system must equally share the responsibility and liability associated with these events. Retailers, card networks, processors and banks must work hand-in-hand and on a level playing field in order to protect consumers. It's time to target those who are truly responsible for data breaches: the criminals stealing credit and debit card information.

Read more in today’s Milwaukee Biz Blog by Rose Oswald Poels, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Bankers Association.

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Weekend Preview
September 26, 2014 11:32 AM
Too busy working to plan your weekend? We've got you covered with the Weekend Preview.

Click here for activity suggestions on this Milwaukee Film Festival weekend. is a media partner of BizTimes Media.

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