January 27, 2020 – West Bend, WI – Neighbors in West Bend are abuzz about the news Milwaukee Tool will be building a manufacturing plant in West Bend.
“It’s huge for West Bend,” said District 5 alderman Rich Kasten. “It shows we can play with the big boys and start to build back some of that manufacturing we lost over the decades.”
The location for the new $26 million plant that will manufacture hand tools is the new TIF 14 located to the south of Rusco Road along the east side of River Road. According to City Administrator Jay Shambeau, Milwaukee Tool will be in the 62 acres of Area A with the road extended off Rail Way.
According to details in a press release:
With an initial expected investment of almost $26 million, Milwaukee Tool will break ground in April 2020 on a 20-acre plot of land purchased in the new business district of West Bend. The first phase of construction will include a 75,000-square-foot building, that can be expanded to 225,000-square-feet in the future. In addition, the company has right of first refusal to purchase an additional 20 acres for future expansion, which would accommodate another 225,000-square-foot building. Milwaukee Tool’s investment will lead to the creation of 50 highly-skilled manufacturing jobs initially, with plans to hire 100 by the end of 2025.
A couple bullet points about the deal:
-The proposed $26 million plant will manufacture hand tools for professional electricians and utility linemen.
-Ground breaking is expected to be in April 2020 with the plant opening in early 2021.
-The deal to build in West Bend happened quickly and West Bend won out over a competing location in Indiana.
City Administrator Jay Shambeau said West Bend was able to secure a deal with Milwaukee Tool because the “City is within close proximity to to their corporate headquarters in Brookfield and its proposed additional corporate presence in Menomonee Falls. Plus the sheer size of our industrial park with ample room for expansion helped set us apart.”
City officials in West Bend have been working since mid-2019 to add more space to its south industrial park.
Shambeau said the deal with Milwaukee Tool was not on the table while the land in the south industrial park was being acquired nor while it was being rezoned.
“We have been making sure we don’t miss any TID creation deadlines, now knowing Milwaukee Tool is on a tight timeline for construction and it will keep us moving quickly to pave the TID and construct the first phase of the road,” said Shambeau.
Milwaukee Tool headquarters in Brookfield, presenting (from left to right) Milwaukee Tool CFO Ty Staviski with City of West Bend Administrator Jay Shambeau, Development Director Mark Piotrowicz, and Economic Development Manager Adam Gitter.
District 4 alderman Chris Jenkins said the City’s recent commitment to annex land and add another industrial park proved extremely timely and beneficial. “The City has always had a pulse on businesses wanting to come or expand here but we continue to run into situations of being landlocked,” he said. “By building the new TIF district industrial property, we took a bet on our community and it paid off. We knew if given the land, businesses would flock, and Milwaukee Tool is just the beginning.”
Christian G. Tscheschlok, executive director of Economic Development Washington County, echoed that sentiment. “Businesses need to sell products outside of Washington County in order to succeed,” he said.
One of the key trends, said Tscheschlok, is the speed with which a business can develop. “Decisions are made in less than 90 days,” he said.
Questioned whether West Bend is prime for development Tscheschlok said the key factor was “availability of land.”
“I’m extremely excited about this,” said Kasten. “It’s a very big name company and the fact they have the desire to come here. It will help us draw more suppliers to help Milwaukee Tool pick up from a manufacturing standpoint.”
Below is a brief 101 primer from alderman Jenkins on how the TIF/TID will benefit taxpayers in West Bend.
With TIF districts, any increment that is built up through the life of the TIF is used to pay off the debt of the TIF that is taken on to purchase land and do public improvements such as streets, sewer, etc… After the life of the TIF is complete (as in the debt is paid off) the increment is then folded into the general property tax levy. In highly successful TIFs, the debt is paid off quickly and then can even be used to aid other poorly performing TIFs or closed out early so the increment impacts the tax levy sooner. Overall, this sort of development is exactly what we mean when we say West Bend will grow our way into the future rather than tax our way. This is a long-term investment in our City and will pay off over the long run.