Affordable sites are ready for development in southeastern Wisconsin

Business climate

When Thomas Boyle, principal in Transwestern’s Rosemont, Illinois office, suggested sites in southeastern Wisconsin to companies 10 years ago, clients would agree to look, but ultimately choose Lake County, Illinois.

About five years ago, the pendulum began to swing.

“Illinois companies looked at me and said, ‘Get me out of here,’” Boyle said. “Taxes are only going north (in Illinois). The one thing Kenosha County always lacked was critical mass for distribution and white-collar labor. But with all of the new companies moving up there – Haribo, Foxconn, Uline – I think Kenosha County is approaching that critical mass.”

In September, Boyle brokered the $14.5 million sale of the former Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha to California developer Majestic Realty Co., which is planning a massive industrial park that could reach up to 2.2 million square feet of development.

Boyle also recently sold 52 acres of vacant land just south of the Amazon fulfillment and distribution centers in Kenosha to an Illinois corporation planning to develop spec industrial buildings.

“Land is cheaper, utilities are cheaper, cost of construction is cheaper and labor is cheaper (in southeastern Wisconsin than in Illinois). It is a winning dynamic,” Boyle said.

Over the past five years, momentum has grown along the I-94 north-south corridor. Several out-of-state companies have taken advantage of Wisconsin’s business-friendly environment, often facilitated with tax incentives through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

In addition to Uline’s more than 2 million square feet of space, Amazon built a $250 million complex on 165 acres along I-94 in Kenosha.

Haribo of America Inc., the Rosemont, Illinois-based subsidiary of the German gummy bear maker, will build its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Pleasant Prairie this year. The $242 million project will include a 500,000-square-foot facility in the Prairie Highlands Corporate Park, west of I-94 between highways 165 and 50.

But the biggest project is Foxconn Technology Group’s plans to build a $10 billion, 20 million-square-foot LCD panel manufacturing complex just east of I-94, between Braun Road and Highway KR in Racine County.

Wispark LLC’s LakeView Corporate Park, located in Pleasant Prairie along Highway 165, about two miles east of the interstate, is credited with being the first project to change the landscape along the I-94 north-south corridor. The 2,400-acre master-planned, mixed-use development opened in July 1988.

Today, there are 10 Class A business parks from Ryan Road in southern Milwaukee County to the state line that have parcels actively available for sale, said Jeff Hoffman, a partner with Cushman & Wakefield | The Boerke Co.

Total availability is more than 1,100 acres.

The average sale price for shovel-ready industrial land in Lake County, Illinois is approximately $7 to $8 per square foot, or $305,000 to $350,000 per acre. Along the I-94 corridor in Wisconsin, the average price is $2.25 to $3.50 per square foot, or around $100,000 to $150,000 per acre, Hoffman said.

Hoffman said Kenosha and Racine counties have been attractive because there are large parcels of land available that can easily accommodate buildings north of 200,000 square feet.

“Because the sites are already zoned industrial and have utilities, you could find a site, get control and get permits in 60 to 120 days,” Hoffman said. “Many of these parks are shovel-ready.”

RACINE COUNTY BUSINESS PARK PRICING

  park

  developer

  availability

  pricing

  WisPark caledonia business park

  wispark

  175 acres

  N/A

  oakview business park

  wispark

  115.09 acres

  $102,ooo – $142,000 per acre

  renaissance business park

  mlg development

  4.1 acres – 10.9 acres

  $99,000 per acre

  mt pleasant commerce

  mlg development

  90.13 acres

  $125,000 per acre

  enterprise business park

  ashley capital

  65.4

  subject to offer

  grandview business park

  wispark

  3.32 – 46.5 acres

  3.32 acres for $108,900 per acre,
with larger site subject to offer

  lakeview corporate park

  wispark

  4.11 – 33.9 acres

  $172,062 – $185, 130 per acre

  pleasant prairie

  village of pleasant prairie

  323.20 acres

  subject to offer

  business park of kenosha

  zilber

  1.43, 2.23 and 15 acres

  subject to offer

  majestic midwest innovation center

  majestic realty

  228.44

  subject to offer

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