Aurora plans Pleasant Prairie facility

Village plan commission approves zoning change to allow medical use


Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:12 pm

Aurora Health Care could join Haribo of America as the second tenant of the Prairie Highlands Corporate Park in Pleasant Prairie, potentially building a medical facility on nearly 100 acres of land, according to real estate and health care industry sources.

A map of proposed infrastructure upgrades for the corporate park shows the area south of Haribo subject to ongoing negotiations.

The facility would be located north of 104th Street and west of Interstate 94, just south of where German gummy bear maker Haribo is planning its first U.S. production facility. Tom Shircel, Pleasant Prairie interim village administrator, confirmed a company is looking at the site but declined to provide additional details.

The village of Pleasant Prairie is in negotiations to land a second tenant for the corporate park, according to documents submitted to the state Public Service Commission.

The unnamed second tenant would combine with Haribo to occupy 50 percent of the land in the corporate park, according to the documents. The corporate park is approximately 458 acres and Haribo acquired 137 acres earlier this year for $20.7 million, suggesting the second tenant could use around 92 acres of land.

Real estate and health care industry sources say the new tenant would be Aurora, which has been planning a $130 million medical center just north of the Pleasant Prairie location in Kenosha.

When asked about Aurora’s plans for Pleasant Prairie, Aurora spokeswoman Tami Kou responded with a statement expressing the company’s commitment to the area.

“We remain fully committed to enhancing patient access to care in the southeast corner of the state. We continue to work through our project plans to ensure that we’re appropriately expanding services to meet the demand,” Kou said.

Mary Jo Jiter, Pleasant Prairie communications, said “the village makes it a practice not to put out speculative information, but presents information once agreements have been reached.”

The Pleasant Prairie plan commission approved a zoning text amendment this week that would allow a variety of additional permitted uses in a production manufacturing district, a designation that covers most of the Prairie Highlands Corporate Park. The additional permitted uses include medical office, corporate campus and service auxiliary uses.

“The M-5 zoning text amendments will allow the village to make full use of the Prairie Highlands land parcels,” Jiter said in an email.

The plans Aurora submitted to Kenosha in January 2017 called for a 100,000-square-foot outpatient care center and a 100,000-square-foot, three-story medical office building on about 158 acres west of I-94 in Kenosha between 60th (Highway K) and 71st streets.

Kenosha City Administrator Frank Pacetti said those plans are still submitted for review. He would not elaborate.

Building a medical center in Pleasant Prairie could allow Milwaukee-based Aurora better connectivity to Downers Grove, Illinois-based Advocate Health Care. The proposed merger between Aurora and Advocate will create a large, continuous system stretching from Green Bay to downstate Illinois. The combined system’s territorial market share is expected to give the providers more leverage when negotiating contracts with insurance companies.

A medical center in Kenosha County also puts Aurora close to Foxconn and the growing number of employers south of Milwaukee County.

During the second week in January, representatives from Foxconn met separately with representatives from Aurora, Froedtert, Ascension, United Health Care and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, according to a health care source familiar with the situation.

Foxconn is hoping to find a health care partner, which would be done through one of the system’s accountable care organizations, the source said. Through an ACO, large employers make a commitment to receive care only through one system in exchange for lower costs.

Foxconn is also considering onsite clinics for medical, workers compensation and wellness, according to the source.

Signing Foxconn would be a major win for a health care provider, particularly if the company follows through on its plans to hire 13,000 employees.

“Everyone is fighting for market share,” said the health care source. “Ascension owns the doctors and hospital in Racine. Froedtert can offer the Froedtert South campus in Kenosha. St. Luke’s is not far, but if Foxconn is serious about doing something, Aurora would be willing to build.”

Aurora officials won’t comment on Foxconn or their upcoming plans for Pleasant Prairie or the site in Kenosha.

When contacted, the other health care systems and insurance companies did not comment on meetings with Foxconn.

“With everything happening with Foxconn, we will see an explosion over the next year, year and a half with companies trying to get down there and get a foothold,” said James Young, senior vice president at JLL’s Milwaukee office. “The municipalities have paved the way and now we will see the development.”

Young would not comment on which company was planning to locate at the business park.

“This will be one of the many announcements over the next few months that will blow everyone’s mind,” Young said. “The momentum is unstoppable. The next few years will reinforce the positive things that have happened politically and have paved the way for the economic growth.”

BizTimes reporter Lauren Anderson contributed to this story.

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