Briggs & Stratton sells Wauwatosa plant for $24 million

The Briggs & Stratton Burleigh plant

Last updated on February 25th, 2022 at 10:46 pm

Wauwatosa-based Briggs & Stratton has sold its Burleigh plant to an affiliate of Milwaukee-based Phoenix Investors for just under $24 million, according to state real estate records.

The two companies have also executed a lease agreement for the property with an initial 15-year term and three five-year options for Briggs to extend the lease, according to documents recorded with the Milwaukee County Register of Deeds.

The plant is located on 56 acres at 3300 N. 124th St. in Wauwatosa, just north of Burleigh Street. It has an assessed value of almost $12.4 million, according to Milwaukee County records. The deal includes three buildings in total, the main Burleigh plant and two smaller buildings located just east of it.

Lauren Vagnini, a spokeswoman for Briggs & Stratton, described the deal as a “standard” sale-leaseback and said the company could continue its operations.

“There will be no visible changes as a result of this transaction and our day-to-day operations will continue as they do currently,” Vagnini said in an email.

Not included in the sale is the Briggs & Stratton corporate headquarters building, which is located just north of the Burleigh plant at 3550 N. 124th St., just south of Wirth Street.

However, Briggs and Phoenix Investors did reach an agreement that offers Phoenix a “right of first offer” for the Wirth property. That right does not apply if Briggs is selling its business in an asset or stock sale or if it sells substantially all of its real estate holdings in a portfolio sale, according to documents filed with the county.

The sale-leaseback gives Briggs the opportunity to invest money previously tied up in owning the building in other parts of its business.

The idea of selling the building previously emerged while Briggs was working its way through the bankruptcy process in 2020.

At the time, Briggs was planning to move production of a number of products to facilities in New York. According to court documents in the bankruptcy case, that would have allowed Briggs to sell the facility and lease the southern half of the building to reduce its costs.

No sale ever materialized and most of Briggs’ assets were ultimately sold to KPS Capital Partners, which continues to own and operate the company.

More recently, Briggs & Stratton announced plans to stop selling portable generators, pressure washers and snow throwers to mass retail centers in North America. The decision will lead to the closure of the Briggs distribution center in Germantown, eliminating 22 hourly jobs, and the elimination of 34 jobs at its corporate offices. The company had noted it has job openings locally that those employees could potentially shift into.

Vagnini said the sale-leaseback transaction is not related to the decision to exit those business lines.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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