Milwaukee, Wis. — The City of Milwaukee has been awarded a $1 million state grant for the development of Reed Street Yards, a water technology business park now under construction adjacent to the Global Water Center.
In addition, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has agreed to provide up to $2 million in state tax credits to Rexnord Corp. to support the company’s relocation of its Zurn Industries subsidiary to Reed Street Yards. The relocation is expected to create 120 new jobs.
The WEDC grant to the city will be used to help fund environmental site work and geotechnical activities on the 17-acre site in the Menomonee Valley. Once completed, Reed Street Yards, located in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood, will be home to a mixed-use urban office, educational, research and technology complex that will focus on the international water industry.
“Reed Street Yards will complement the outstanding work already taking place at the nearby Global Water Center and will further solidify the position of Milwaukee and Wisconsin as a world leader in water technology,” said Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who made the announcement with city and industry officials on Tuesday. “The state is proud to play a key role in moving this project forward.”
“Businesses are choosing Milwaukee because it is a great place to grow. They recognize the advantages in our culture of hard work and innovation,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who joined Kleefisch at the announcement. “With the combined resources of the state and the city, we can smooth the way for companies to locate here. That adds jobs to our economy and benefits our entire region.”
Located on the south bank of the Menomonee River, Reed Street Yards is expected to ultimately house more than 1 million square feet of space and will join the Global Water Center as the physical hub of an international water technology cluster. Developer Peter Moede and General Capital Group will begin construction later this year on a four-story, 80,000-square foot multiuse building called Water Tech One. The $20 million building, which has been designed with uncompromising attention to sustainability and cutting edge water, energy and technology features, is expected to be completed in 2016.
Rexnord Corp. is relocating Zurn Industries to a 52,000-square-foot standalone office building in Reed Street Yards. Construction on that building is expected to begin this year. WEDC has authorized the company to receive up to $2 million in tax credits. The actual amount of credits the company will earn is contingent upon the company meeting specific job creation and wage requirements.
“As we establish the Zurn headquarters in Milwaukee, we greatly appreciate the tremendous support that we have received from both the State of Wisconsin and City of Milwaukee,” said Todd Adams, Rexnord president and CEO. “Rexnord anticipates continued growth and expansion of our water businesses as we believe Wisconsin and Milwaukee have created an ecosystem for water technology companies to access world-class talent, innovation and technology development, as well as research partnerships that will help shape and address the world’s water challenges.”
“This grant is the latest example of WEDC’s role as a strong proponent and a vital partner in Milwaukee’s growing water technology industry,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development agency. “Working with many partners, WEDC was instrumental in the establishment of the Global Water Center in 2013, and Reed Street Yards is the next chapter in Milwaukee’s evolution as the unequivocal hub of the water technology industry.”
Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council, added: “The funding from the WEDC and the collaboration with the City of Milwaukee is a great example of a true ‘public-private partnership’ that encompasses governments at all levels. This leadership is critical in attracting global companies such as Zurn and helping to make Milwaukee a world water hub.”
Reed Street Yards, located on a former rail yard and truck terminal, will be one of Wisconsin’s first eco-industrial parks, which balances natural resources with economic development. An integrated stormwater treatment plan has been developed that will feature rain gardens, and green building guidelines have been adopted to promote sustainable development. In addition, a 40-foot buffer being established along the Menomonee Canal for stormwater management will also serve as a new segment of the Hank Aaron Trail.
The investment by WEDC at the Reed Street Yards is complemented by Tax Incremental Financing resources from the City of Milwaukee that includes $6.2 million in infrastructure expenditures and another $5 million to support job creation.
WEDC’s Idle Industrial Sites Redevelopment Program, created in 2013, stimulates investment and job creation in idle, abandoned and underutilized manufacturing sites that cannot be redeveloped solely by the private sector due to their scale and complexity.
The competitive program offers grants of up to $1 million to communities for the implementation of redevelopment plans for sites of 10 acres or more that have been idle, abandoned or underutilized for at least five years. The sites must have had at least 25 years of prior commercial or industrial usage to qualify. The funds can be used for demolition, environmental remediation, or site-specific improvements defined in a redevelopment plan.
WEDC has awarded a total of $3.4 million in Idle Industrial Sites grants this year, including $1 million to the City of Oak Creek for the Drexel Town Square project and $1 million to the City of Racine for the Machinery Row development.