A new kind of business park

    Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:33 pm

    Tom Hignite, president of Miracle Homes Inc., wants to build a new kind of business park in Germantown.
    If village officials approve his plans, Hignite could begin creating the 80-acre project this spring, bringing $25 million to $35 million in new development to the area over the next 10 years.
    Hignite’s plan calls for four different phases of development near the intersection of highways 41 and 45 and Holy Hill Road.
    When complete, Hignite says, the property would contain about 10 model homes, a 14,000-square-foot fitness and recreational facility for his employees, a four-acre pond filled with rainwater where employees and their families can canoe, a 60,000-square-foot office building for his company’s headquarters, a warehouse facility, a training center and auditorium, a caretaker’s facility and a new private residence for his family.
    "The idea is to become a destination place to work," he said. "We’re trying to create a fantastic experience for the people that work for us. We would like this (development) to take on the look and feel of an upscale residence or resort. We’re using more expensive construction that could be used for high-end residential."
    Construction on the first phase of the development could start this spring, including the development of the 14,000-square-foot building, which will temporarily house Miracle Homes’ office headquarters and later be converted into a fitness and recreational facility.
    Two model homes and a 2,500-square-foot sales center also would be built during the first phase, along with half of the four-acre pond that would be used for both irrigating plants and recreational uses.
    Rainwater runoff would be collected to fill the water structure, which could also serve for fire suppression, Hignite said. It will be lined with a plastic or vinyl material to prevent water from seeping into the ground.
    The value of the first phase of development is estimated at about $8 million.
    Hignite’s plan was initially approved by Germantown officials in January 2004 and required construction to begin that year. Hignite said he and other Miracle Homes employees began changing their plans last summer, so they had to start the approval process over.
    Hignite said he’s hoping to have that approval process completed by March or April, and he is hoping to start construction in April. He said Germantown officials had been very accommodating during the first approval process, and he is hoping for another smooth round of negotiations this spring.
    Hignite said his company is hoping to start the second phase of the development, construction of the 60,000-square-foot Miracle Homes headquarters, with an expected cost of $8 million to $12 million, about two years after the first phase is completed.
    The third and fourth phases are planned to be done one year after the previous phases are completed. The third phase includes construction of a warehouse, a caretaker’s facility and a private residence for the Hignite family. The fourth phase includes construction of the training center and auditorium and the addition of a swimming pool at the recreation center.
    "We know phase one can presently be supported (with the company’s revenues)," Hignite said, adding that the later phases of development are somewhat dependent on the company’s future revenue growth.
    "Our promise to the community is to build this project out," he said. "Other phases can go ahead with us leasing to vendors."
    Hignite said the development is needed to house his company, which has grown since he and his wife, Jackie, started the firm in 1993 to about 67 employees today. The company sold 220 homes in 2004 and is projecting to sell about 230 homes this year.
    "We’ve projected to slow our growth this year since we’re doing such a large project," Hignite said. "But in the first days of this year, we’ve sold the same number of homes as last year."
    Hignite said the company’s average home sales price is $180,000.
    Miracle Homes had been working with Richfield to try to get its headquarters built there for several years, but Hignite said opposition by neighbors led him to eventually withdraw his plans from that community, where his business started.
    The company is currently housed in temporary offices in the Town of Polk.
    Hignite’s project is just one of many new developments in Germantown.
    DBI Inc. is planning to divide a 50-acre site at the intersection of Lannon and Mequon roads near Highways 41 and 45 into 10 parcels for commercial development, according to Jason Gallo, village planner.
    About half of the DBI parcel is wetlands, and the company is working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on a preservation plan.
    Fred Carlson, president of DBI, said the company has already signed leases with Goss Auto Collision and a car wash/gas station for two of the parcels. The company is marketing the other parcels to interested companies, but no other leases have been signed yet, Carlson said.
    "It’s got great exposure, and it’s convenient from the business park and expressway," Carlson said.
    DBI is hoping to construct a 10,000-square-foot office building on the site, which also has room for about 30,000 square feet of light industrial space and possibly an auto dealership.
    Gallo also said the village, the DNR and the departments of transportation of both Waukesha and Washington counties are examining a proposal to construct a 200,000-square-foot Super Wal-Mart on County Line Road.
    Other projects nearing completion in the village include the 16,200-square-foot physical therapy and sports medicine center being developed by Community Memorial Hospital and Froedtert Lutheran Memorial Hospital on Mequon Road and a 21,000-square-foot La-Z-Boy showroom near Highways 41 and 45 and County Line Road.
    February 4, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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