Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:23 pm
Annexations, redevelopment push the needle in Washington County
Action in Washington County appears to be driven more by annexations than expansion of local business.
Developers stressed that the steady activity seen in larger metropolitan areas such as Milwaukee seemed more driven by larger national players than by local businesses in an expansion mode. Washington County, which is more dependent on local players than, say, downtown Milwaukee, is gearing up for growth, if not being inundated by it.
Slinger is bracing for a spate of new development in a 40-acre business park encompassed in its Tax Incremental Financing District #3. Roads for the park were completed in November, and the targeted commercial/light industrial development has already begun.
Uptown Motors has already constructed a Chevrolet dealership on one nine-acre parcel. According to village clerk Dean Otte, materials-handling equipment manufacturer Villico has started work on a 20,000-square-foot facility on a three-acre plot.
Utilities for another portion of TIF #3 — on the northeast corner of highways 41 and 60 — are currently in the engineering stage. Otte said the improvements should be completed by the fall of 2002, opening the land for development.
Jackson looks at annexation
According to village of Jackson administrator Del Beaver, Jackson should see increased commercial and industrial development potential due to a pending annexation.
The village is currently working toward annexation of 100 acres from the town of Polk. The property is located along Highway 41 along Sherman Road.
"It is very possible that if the development occurs that we are expecting will occur, an additional 100 acres will be annexed in the village for a distribution center," Beaver said. "And in due course of supplying that center with wastewater and water, we will open up a like amount on the east side of Highway 41. The 41 corridor remains a hot property."
Beaver said he expected the annexation to be finalized this year.
"The new area along 41 would open up a tremendous amount of acreage across Highway 45 and along Sherman Road," Beaver said. "We would open up property to the west of the distribution facility and west of the Cedar Creek Business Park. The annexation should occur before April and developments would come on line in the fall. A lot depends on how fast these entities move. The village is not going to push sewer under 45 without viable users out there."
Velocity of development has slowed little in Jackson during the current recession, according to Beaver.
"In all truthfulness, we have seen a couple of decisions delayed a couple of months, but we haven’t seen any real falloff," Beaver said. "Yes, the whole world is a little more unstable, but the low interest rates make it more attractive to undertake projects."
The village of Jackson also in November of last year issued a $1.5 million industrial revenue bond for the Rytec Corp. Rytec manufactures high-speed rolling and folding doors for the industrial, commercial and cold-storage markets. Industrial Revenue Bonds are tax-free bonds issued by the state through local governments, and the proceeds are loaned to new or expanding businesses for development projects. The company will use the money to construct and equip a 29,000-square-foot addition to its existing plant. The project will retain 67 jobs and create seven jobs over the next three years. The total project cost is $2,558,000.
Beaver said there are about 100 acres left in the village’s Northwest Business Park, and that activity looks strong into 2002.
"We have three or four deals going in the park right now," Mark Schnoll of NAI MLG Commercial said. "It is not targeting the real high-end user. It still is an industrial park. They will still allow some outdoor storage if it is screened properly. They do not require complete masonry construction."
West Bend redevelops brownfields
West Bend is seeing major redevelopment activity adjacent to its downtown. The city is now in the process of purchasing properties in a seven-acre area east of the downtown on Wisconsin Street, and has closed on three properties, according to city administrator Dennis Melvin. The properties, owned by a half dozen private entities, had been in warehouse and industrial use.
Demolition of properties should begin in the spring, and Melvin said the city is currently discussing potential mixed uses on the site with developers.
Community development planner Julie Licht said the city would send out a request for proposals to developers this spring and hopes to see construction start in 2003.
The city is currently working with Canadian National — the owners of the Wisconsin Central railroad — to relocate a rail yard from the site.
"We anticipate it will be a combination of retail and residential," Melvin said. "Perhaps it will all be residential. We already have an anchor residential development downtown in the former Inger-Kress leather property."
The city is also seeking proposals from developers for 900,000 square feet of space vacated by West Bend Co. and its new owners, Illinois Tool Works (ITW).
"We are discussing possibilities with the owners and developers," Melvin said.
According to Melvin, most of the existing structures on the 20-plus-acre site, which is east of the Milwaukee River adjacent to the downtown, would remain intact and be redeveloped through adaptive reuse.
The city is also seeing the erection of the first building — a Piggly Wiggly grocery store — in its Wingate Creek business park, which is located east of the city adjacent to the airport. The project is part of the city’s TIF #3.
"It is mostly industrial — about 16 acres of commercial of which almost six of it is sold to the people putting up the Piggly Wiggly. There is an additional 10-acre site of commercial land still available," Schnoll said.
Schnoll said interest in the property felt solid despite a slow start.
"There are three potential deals brewing," Schnoll said. "One is looking pretty imminent. We started marketing this park in earnest in the fall when they got a lot of the issues in the park resolved with the DNR and the Army Corps [of Engineering] and the airport. Even though it has been on the market a little longer with another broker, it was really not a park — the roads weren’t in."
Schnoll said he was anticipating action with light manufacturers and distributors.
February 1, 2002 Small Business Times, Milwaukee