While residential and commercial development have slowed to a crawl throughout most of southeastern Wisconsin, industrial projects in Racine County are moving forward, with construction continuing well into 2009.
The largest project is a new 90-acre business park in Mount Pleasant named Park 94. The park is being developed by Chicago-based HSA Commercial.
The first projects inside the park include a 323,000-square-foot, LEED-certified industrial building that is being built on speculation and could house one or multiple industrial tenants, said Craig Phillips, executive vice president of development with HSA who is overseeing the project. The LEED certified building should be finished this spring.
“We are appealing to larger corporate users with LEED on their wish list,” he said. “And this is expandable by up to 700,000 to 800,000 (total) square feet if we need to. Or we could construct a sister building during Phase 2 (construction).”
The second building in Park 94 is a 125,000-square-foot, multi-tenant, rear-loading industrial facility that is geared toward local users, Phillips said. Construction and interior work was finished at the end of December, and the space is ready for tenants now. The facility was designed for tenants looking for 25,000 square feet of space or more.
HSA Commercial has started marketing the industrial buildings to potential tenants. The first two buildings are the first phase for Park 94. The second phase of the project calls for construction of an identical building from the first phase, Phillips said. The company also owns 24 acres of frontage along Highway 20 that it wants to develop into retail or build-to-suit properties, he said.
“We also own another 90 acres across the street, north of Highway 20,” Phillips said. “We’re holding that for a Phase 3 or for large built-to-suit customers who might want to relocate to the area.”
The Mount Pleasant area is highly desirable for a business park project because of its proximity to Interstate 94 and many manufacturers and the village’s tax incremental financing (TIF) district, which provided a funding source for public improvements such as road construction, Phillips said.
“There is limited land available in Lake County (Illinois), which is driving new development north of the border,” he said. “This (area) is great for warehousing. And Mount Pleasant is a very proactively thinking community. This is the first large industrial park identified in their TIF district, and the substantial economic incentives makes it attractive for potential tenants looking to save money in this economy.”
Other industrial-related projects in Racine are continuing into 2009.
RexCon LLC broke ground in late summer on a new 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and headquarters in Burlington. The building’s walls have been erected and some of its roof rafters have been installed. The company expects to move its operations into the building this summer. It will move from about 140,000 square feet of leased space on Milwaukee’s northwest side.
In December, CenterPoint Wispack Land Company LLC completed initial work on a new 154,000-square-foot industrial mixed use building on a 20-acre parcel in Yorkville. CenterPoint will finish the building, or portions of it, will be finished when tenants have leased space, said Jenny Trick, deputy director with the Racine County Economic Development Corp.
“They typically wait until they have an end user,” she said. “Everything is in place – heat, plumbing and electric.”
Racine County is also witnessing some non-industrial development. In Mount Pleasant’s TIF area, Horizon Retail Construction Inc. is building a 75,000-square-foot headquarters. The company expects to move into the new facility later this year.
“It’s under construction now,” Trick said. “The shell is up and enclosed, and they’re working on the interior.”