Village to sell land to Uline for HQ expansion

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Uline plans to buy a 30-acre site from the Village of Pleasant Prairie to build a new 200,000-square-foot office building near its corporate headquarters campus in the village.

On Tuesday the firm, a distributor of industrial materials, shipping supplies and packaging materials, announced plans for a $100 million expansion that will double the size of its corporate headquarters campus in the village and will create about 500 jobs. In addition to the new office building, a 1 million-square-foot warehouse will be built next to the existing warehouse on the campus.

The site for the new office building is located about two-thirds of a mile southeast of the firm’s corporate headquarters office building, which is located southwest of I-94 and Highway 165/Q. The new office building will house the corporate marketing and creative staff, as well as other departments.

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The company has an agreement to purchase the office building site from the village, said executive vice president Phil Hunt. However the deal has not closed yet. A few surveying issues need to be worked out, which will affect the final price, said Village Administrator Michael Pollocoff.

At one time the site was occupied by the Kenosha Military Museum and a few single family homes. It was acquired about 10 years ago by the village’s community development authority as part of an effort to eliminate blight in the I-94 corrdior to attract high quality development. At the time the area had several adult bookstores and other uses that village officials considered undesirable eyesores.

“This was once land that was economically challenged,” said Village President John Steinbrink. “The (I-94) corridor (in Pleasant Praire) was nothing to be proud of. Now we have a good image. Companies are coming here because of the location between Chicago and Milwauke and the great employees that are here.”

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The site for the new office building is on the west side of a frontage road along I-94, across the freeway from Pleasant Prairie Prime Outlets. The location will provide additional freeway visibility for the Uline headquarters.

Milwaukee-based Eppstein Uhen Architects is the design firm for the Uline expansion. Construciton for the new warehouse is expected to begin this summer and construction for the new office building is expected to begin in the fall.

Half of the additional 500 employees will work in the new office building and half will work in the new warehouse, Hunt said. The company currently has about 1,100 employees in Pleasant Prairie. In addition to the headquarters campus, the company has two distribution centers in LakeView Corporate Park in the village. It will vacate one of those buildings when the new warehouse opens, Hunt said.

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The company, which moved its corporate headquarters from Waukegan, Ill. to Pleasant Prairie in 2010, is growing at a rate of about 15 to 20 percent a year, Hunt said.

“We continue to expand to new markets and continue to add new products,” he said.

“Uline is crazy hell-bent on growth,” said Brian Uihlein, vice president of merchandising for the firm. “It wouldn’t be possible without the customers who absolutely love Uline. And they love us because we have the best people.”

Uhlein was emotional speaking to about 200 employees at the expansion announcement.

“You do a tremendous effort,” he said to them. “We thank you.”

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