Three years after picking Wisconsin, Haribo picks contractor for Pleasant Prairie plant

Haribo sign. Courtesy of village of Pleasant Prairie
Haribo sign. Courtesy of village of Pleasant Prairie

Last updated on October 27th, 2020 at 12:37 pm

Haribo of America has selected Gilbane Building Co. as the general contractor for its planned manufacturing facility in Pleasant Prairie.

The selection is a major step forward for a project that was originally planned to have invested $220 million and created 100 jobs by the end of this year when it was announced in the spring of 2017.

“The strategic decision to build a manufacturing facility in North America is of great importance to the HARIBO Group, and we are thrilled to take this next important step in the process,” said Hans Guido Riegel, managing partner of the HARIBO Group. “HARIBO is the fastest growing confectionery brand in the U.S., and our production facility will support continued long-term growth while also allowing us to be part of the Pleasant Prairie community.”

Haribo is planning to build a 487,400-square-foot production building along with other warehouses, offices and accessory buildings on nearly 140 acres in the Prairie Highlands Corporate Park along I-94. The company picked the site over seven locations in Illinois, including the Sears campus in Hoffman Estates.

When the project was first announced, construction was expected to begin in 2018. Company officials have said the project was delayed to allow for an emphasis on quality in the products the facility will produce.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. documents obtained via open records by BizTimes indicate that negotiations over a development agreement between the village and Haribo “were more complex than anticipated,” leading to a delay in the project.

Earlier this month, Haribo asked for and received an extension of previous approvals after “the unprecedented occurrences of 2020” delayed the construction timeline. Gilbane plans to begin work as soon as possible, according to Monday’s announcement.

“It’s a great honor to partner with Haribo, and we’re so pleased we earned the team’s trust to deliver this world-class manufacturing complex,” said Adam Jelen, senior vice president at Gilbane. “Like Haribo, Gilbane is committed to quality and being part of the community.”

Gilbane is also part of a joint venture serving as the general contractor for much of Foxconn’s work on its campus in Mt. Pleasant.

The two massive projects have been on very different trajectories in recent years despite being announced within months of each other.

Foxconn and Mt. Pleasant moved quickly to acquire thousands of acres of land and broke ground in 2018. Work on around 1.4 million square feet worth of facilities is well underway, but Foxconn’s plans have been continually evolving over the years. Earlier this month, WEDC informed the company it would not qualify for state tax credits because it was no longer building a planned Gen 10.5 LCD fabrication facility.

Haribo, on the other hand, has moved slower and did not finalize its acquisition of the land until February 2020.

The company’s original $21 million tax incentive contract with WEDC has been amended twice since it was first signed in 2017.

The first amendment, completed in 2018, adjusted the timeline for the company to make its required investments by two years. Under the original deal, Haribo needed to have 80 jobs by the end of 2020 and would have exhausted its $15.3 million in capital expenditure tax credits by the end of 2019.

Under the new timeline, the company needed just 20 jobs by the end of this year and had until the end of 2021 to earn capital expenditure tax credits.

The second amendment, completed in late 2019, actually gave Haribo the opportunity to earn another $1.5 million in tax credits after the company added a 160,000-square-foot warehouse to its plans. The additional building added $19.6 million to the company’s planned investment.

Haribo also received more flexibility on its job creation targets and now needs to create just 16 jobs by the end of this year. The company also received another year to earn its capital investment tax credits.

Through the end of June, Haribo had been credited with $35.7 million in capital investment and verified for $2.1 million in tax credits.

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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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