Washington County

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Significant growth in the manufacturing sector resulted in several new industrial-related commercial real estate projects in Washington County in 2008, many of which will continue this year.

In addition, some new projects are likely to begin this year.

One of the largest manufacturing-related projects in Washington County is nearing completion. West Bend’s Gehl Co. is nearing the completion of a new 100,000-square-foot headquarters and 75,000-square-foot research and development facility. The headquarters will cost about $10 million to build, while the R&D facility will cost about $3 million, with another $7 million in equipment and furnishings.

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Some Gehl employees have started working inside the facility, said Julie Cayo, community development planner for West Bend. The company expects to be finished moving into the R&D facility by March 15. The headquarters is expected to be ready for occupancy by April 15, Cayo said.

“Construction has gone really smoothly,” Cayo said.

No officials from Gehl Co. were available to comment for this report.

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West Bend saw additional industrial development in 2008, including the construction of three new buildings in the River Road Industrial Park, a rail-based industrial park created in 2005. They include:

Gehls Guernsey Farms built a $2.5 million, 113,000-square-foot facility in 2008. While the exterior of the project is finished, the company has not yet filed for an occupancy permit, Cayo said.

Johnson Concrete finalized its 35,000-square-foot facility in

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Barton Solvents developed a 18,750-square-foot facility, which opened in November.

The Jackson Northwest Industrial Park in Jackson continued its robust growth last year, adding two new buildings and expanding two existing structures, said Jim Blise, one of the owners of the park.

Blise is also president of Design 2 Construct Development Corp., a design/build firm in Jackson. His firm has constructed nearly all of the buildings inside the industrial park.

During 2008, the park added a new 85,000-square-foot building, built for Master Wholesale, a wholesaler that supplies distributors who stock vending machines, Blise said. Design 2 Construct also built a 50,000-square-foot building for PW Walsh, a rigging company, which was finished last summer.

The company also added to two existing buildings in the park, with 29,000 and 30,000-square-foot additions.

However, the company is ready for more expansion this year, Blise said.

“We just bought 41 acres to the west of us across Highway P in June (2008),” he said. “At the end of the year, we completed a cul-de-sac road, and the whole 41 acres is graded and ready for development.”

In Germantown, work continues on a new 120,000-square-foot manufacturing plant for Cambridge Major Laboratories Inc., scheduled to be operational by August. Work at the facility started in June.

Cambridge Major Labs’ new plant is being built next to its existing 50,000-square-foot plant and headquarters. The company currently employs about 100 and will expand by 50 to 60 employees after the new plant is built, Michael Major, the company’s president, said previously.

The company is an outsourced partner with many large drug companies, helping to develop the active ingredients in pharmaceuticals.

“Cambridge is in the middle of their expansion – that’s at least a $40 million project,” said John Caldwell, executive director of economic development for Washington County. “What they’re turning Cambridge into is something that can handle the capacity, the things necessary to make pharmaceuticals. This gets them into the league when they can take customers from development through full production.”

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